Longtime country singer, songwriter Mel Tillis dies

Mel Tillis, the father of country singer Pam Tillis, recorded more than 60 albums and had several top 10 country singles

This Oct. 27, 2013 file photo shows country singer Mel Tillis arriving at the ceremony for the 2013 inductions into the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski, File)
This Oct. 27, 2013 file photo shows country singer Mel Tillis arriving at the ceremony for the 2013 inductions into the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski, File)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Mel Tillis, the longtime country star who wrote hits for Kenny Rogers, Ricky Skaggs and many others, and overcame a stutter to sing on dozens of his own singles, has died.

A spokesman for Tillis, Don Murry Grubbs, said Tillis died early Sunday at Munroe Regional Medical Center in Ocala, Florida. He was 85.

Grubbs said Tillis battled intestinal issues since 2016 and never fully recovered. The suspected cause of death is respiratory failure.

Tillis, the father of country singer Pam Tillis, recorded more than 60 albums and had several top 10 country singles, including “Good Woman Blues,” ”Coca Cola Cowboy” and “Southern Rain.”

Among hits he wrote for others were “Detroit City” for Bobby Bare, and “Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town,” by Rogers and the First Edition.