Country music legend Mel Tillis died early Sunday morning, according to a statement from his publicist. He was 85.
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.
His commercial peak came in the 1970s when he had a string of top 10 hits, including "Good Woman Blues," "Heart Healer" and "Coca Cola Cowboy." In 2007, he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Before making his way to Nashville, Tennessee, the songwriter briefly attended the University of Florida. He joined the US Air Force to serve in the Korean War and was stationed in Okinawa, where he spent his time cooking and singing on Armed Forces Radio.