By Maura O’Malley
Country legend Lonnie Melvin (“Mel”) Tillis died this morning in Ocala, Florida, Entertainment Weekly reports. According to a statement made by his publicist, the musician battled intestinal issues and reportedly suffered respiratory failure.
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. He was also recognized by President Barack Obama in 2012, receiving the National Medal of Arts for his country music contributions.
Tillis was 85 years old and is survived by his partner Kathy DeMonaco and six kids.