by Bob Paxman | November 19, 2017
Country Music Legend Mel Tillis Dead at 85
Mel Tillis, one of country music’s most versatile artists, died this morning (Nov. 19) of respiratory failure at age 85. Mel battled intestinal issues since early 2016 and never fully recovered.
Mel won the CMA Entertainer of the Year award in 1976 and was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2007.
Lonnie Melvin “Mel” Tillis was born Aug. 8, 1932, in Plant City, Fla., but raised in the community of Pahokee, Fla. As a youngster, he survived a childhood bout with malaria, which left him with a chronic stutter. Before moving to Nashville in 1957, Mel worked on the railroad and joined the Air Force. While stationed in Japan, Mel became the lead singer for a band called The Westerners.