Country music star Mel Tillis dead at age 85, publicist says

Country music legend Mel Tillis is pictured with his National Medal of Arts after being presented with the award by U.S. President Barack Obama during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S. on February 13, 2012.   (Reuters/File Photo)
Country music legend Mel Tillis is pictured with his National Medal of Arts after being presented with the award by U.S. President Barack Obama during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S. on February 13, 2012. (Reuters/File Photo)

Mel Tillis, a Country Music Hall of Fame singer and songwriter who recorded more than 60 albums and penned a string of hits for Kenny Rogers, George Strait and other major artists, has died at age 85, his publicist said on Sunday.

Tillis, who had six No. 1 country hits of his own during his long career, passed away early Sunday morning in an Ocala, Florida hospital, according to a statement posted on Absolute Publicity’s website. Respiratory failure was the suspected cause, but the singer had suffered from intestinal issues since early 2016.

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