Following the news of the passing of legendary Country Music Hall of Famer Mel Tillis, his family, friends and colleagues are paying homage to the late singer-songwriter.
"The world lost a comedy and music legend and we lost our father... he was loved by all and we miss him terribly already."
"One of the great entertainers in our business has gone on to his next assignment. It won't be entertaining! It'll be total rest, peace and love. Jesus is the star!!! Thank you Mel for playing a big part in my journey. Always loved being with you. You will be missed here."
Melvin was my pal and I will miss him."
"What a great talent and a wonderful friend. We'll m-m-miss you Mel."
"Mel was a character on-stage and off, an incredible writer, and never without a smile and a new joke. I'll cherish our friendship and the times we spent working numerous shows together over the past 40 years. Mel was a one of a kind entertainer who loved performing for his fans. May all the Tillis' find comfort in knowing their father was loved by everyone, on both sides of the stage."
"I've been a Tillis fan since I was a boy. Country music has lost a great American icon for sure. We’re going to miss old Melvin."
"Once again, our country music family is grieving with great sorrow. I was very sad to hear of the passing of Mel Tillis. My respects and deepest condolences to his family."
-Marty Raybon / Shenandoah
"I'm going to miss Mel Tillis with all my heart because I love to laugh. He always made me laugh and I loved him. He was just one of a kind and that's what we will all miss so much."
"My favorite thing about Mel was his ability to make fun of himself. You were always guaranteed a laugh while in his presence. One of the greatest songwriters and entertainers of all time. He will be missed."
"The legacy of Mel Tillis is one of exceptional talent, overflowing kindness, generosity of spirit, and a unique brand of self-deprecating humor. His passing leaves another gaping hole in the landscape of country music. Thank you, Mel, for teaching us to take everything that life hands us with gratitude and a smile. You will be deeply missed. Prayers of peace and comfort to Pam and the entire Tillis family and organization."
-Dave Innis / Restless Heart
"One of the last of the great personalities and entertainers. A great loss to the Nashville music community. We will miss a man who always made the world smile."
-Larry Stewart / Restless Heart
"Sending my deepest sympathies to all of Mr. Mel's family and friends. I'll tell you a story which I know he would love. When our band was looking for our very first tour bus, Mr. Tillis was selling one of his buses and he showed up to meet us to negotiate the price. We told him it was going to be too much for our budget and Mel, sharp as a tack, quickly replied, 'Well. Then, I guess you don't have a bus.' He then proceeded to walk us to the door and in his own style of love wished us good luck. Rest in peace, my friend."
-Doug Gray / The Marshall Tucker Band
Following a lengthy struggle to regain his health, Tillis passed away early Sunday morning at the Munroe Regional Medical Center in Ocala, Florida. Tillis battled intestinal issues since early 2016 and never fully recovered. The suspected cause of death is respiratory failure. Tillis was 85.
The Tillis family asks for your continued prayers and will soon release information regarding funeral services in Florida and Nashville.
Lonnie Melvin Tillis was born in Tampa, Florida on August 8, 1932. Throughout his 60+ year career, the Grand Ole Opry member recorded more than 60 albums, had 35 Top Ten singles, six #1 hits ("I Ain't Never," "Coca-Cola Cowboy," "Southern Rains," "Good Woman Blues," "Heart Healer," and "I Believe In You"), was named the Country Music Association's coveted Entertainer of the Year, and was elected a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame. He wrote over 1,000 songs, 600 of which have been recorded by major artists including Kenny Rogers ("Ruby, Don't You Take Your Love To Town"), George Strait ("Thoughts Of A Fool"), and Ricky Skaggs ("Honey, Open That Door"). Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI) named Tillis Songwriter of the Decade for two decades. In February of 2012 President Obama awarded Tillis the National Medal of Arts.