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Country Music Legend Mel Tillis Dead at 85

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By Katherine Lam | Fox News

Nov. 19 2017
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    Musician’s career spanned six decades.
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Country music singer Mel Tillis, whose six-decade career included hits such as “I Ain’t Never” and “Coca Cola Cowboy” and who never let his stutter get in the way of him becoming a legend, died on Sunday, his publicist confirmed. He was 85.

Tillis passed away at Munroe Regional Medical Center in Ocala, Fla., his publicist Don Murry Grubbs said. The music legend is believed to have died from respiratory failure after he never recovered from intestinal issues he has been battling since 2016. He leaves behind his longtime partner, Kathy DeMonaco, his six children and six grandchildren.

Tillis recorded more than 60 albums and had 35 top ten singles in his decades-long career. His 1979 “Coca-Cola Cowboy” was one of his biggest hits, along with “Southern Rains” in 1980 and “I Believe in You” in 1978.

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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, February 13, 2012. Obama honored 17 people and organizations for their service in the arts and humanities. REUTERS/Jason Reed (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS ENTERTAINMENT) - GM1E82E0BYF01
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.  (Reuters)

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He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Tennessean reported. His daughter, Pam Tillis, who is also a country music singer, inducted him into the Grand Ole Opry in 2007. Her rep released a statement on her official Facebook fanpage saying the death “was sudden and unexpected.”

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