Country Music Hall of Famer, Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee and Grand Ole Opry member Mel Tillis died early Sunday morning at the Munroe Regional Medical Center in Ocala, Florida, according to his publicist Don Murry Grubbs.
The singer, songwriter, comedian and businessman, whose genuine warmth and down-home humor drew countless fans, was 85 years old. In his six-decade career, he recorded over 60 albums, notched three dozen Top 10 singles and wrote several hit songs that are now regarded as classics.
Lonnie Melvin Tillis was born to Lonnie Lee and Burma Tillis on Aug. 8, 1932, near Tampa, Fla. His speech impediment developed after a childhood bout of malaria; Tillis was mocked for his stammer when he was young, but would later use it to comedic effect on stage and screen. "After a lot of years and more hurting than I like to remember, I can talk about it lightly -- which eases things a bit," he wrote in "Stutterin' Boy," the autobiography he released in 1984. "It's a way of showing people that it hasn't licked me, so it doesn't have to lick others."
It's weird that he never stammered when he was singing. From what i hear, he was a good guy too, much loved in music circles. People like him will be missed.
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