Country Music Hall of Famer Mel Tillis dies at 85

Mel Tillis country music star known as'Stutterin Boy' dead at 85

The cause of death is suspected respiratory failure. Tillis' had been hospitalized in Nashville in 2016 with diverticulitis and later underwent colon surgery. He also went to No. 1 in 1980 with "Southern Rains".

Born Lonnie Melvin Tillis in Tampa, Florida in 1932, Tillis caught malaria as a child, leaving him with a speech impediment for which he was mocked in his youth but which he embraced as an adult, incorporating it into his performances for comic effect. Over the course of his long career, he wrote more than 1,000 songs, recorded more than 60 albums, had almost three dozen top-10 singles, and pegged six No. 1 hits, including "Coca-Cola Cowboy", "I Ain't Never", and "I Believe in You".

"He once spent an entire day at his place in Tennessee showing me all the memorabilia he'd gathered over the years where he gave me a pair of his stage boots", Shelton's account said.

Tillis wrote hits for Kenny Rogers, Ricky Skaggs and many more. It disrupted his speaking, but did not affect his ability to sing.

Mother of 3-year-old Texas girl arrested, charged with child endangerment
He said when he could no longer feel Sherin's pulse he "believed she had died" and removed the body from the house. Mathews had reportedly grown impatient with Sherin for not drinking her milk, according to his arrest affidavit .

Musical from an early age, he started performing in the early 1950s with a group called The Westerners, while stationed in Okinawa and serving as a baker in the Air Force.

Shortly after leaving the Air Force in 1956, Tillis wrote I'm exhausted, which became a No. 3 hit for Webb Pierce and helped launch Tillis' career. He had a couple of top 10 hits in the 1960s before reaching the top of the charts throughout the "70s". He would be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame one year later.

He also appeared in films such as "Cannonball Run" and "Smokey and the Bandit".

Known for iconic songs like "Coca-Cola Cowboy" and "I Ain't Never", Tillis is a Country Music Hall of Famer who was awarded "Entertainer of the Year" at the 1976 CMA Awards.

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