- The country music star wrote more than 1,000 songs in his 60-year career
- He was awarded the National Medal of Arts in 2012 by President Barack Obama
Tillis died at the Munroe Regional Medical Center in Ocala, Florida, after battling intestinal issues since 2016, said spokesman Don Murry Grubbs. The suspected cause of death was respiratory failure.
Tillis was a prolific singer-songwriter who penned more than 1,000 songs and recorded more than 60 albums in a career that spanned six decades. Many of those songs were recorded by other country music stars such as Kenny Rogers, George Strait and Ricky Skaggs.
On Sunday morning Tillis’ fellow country music stars and fans praised his contributions to the genre and offered condolences on Twitter.
Born Lonnie Melvin Tillis in Tampa, Florida, he suffered a spell of malaria as a boy that left him with a chronic stutter, according to the Country Music Hall of Fame. His stutter became a trademark that Tillis mined for laughs, although it disappeared when he sang.