Celebration Of Life Held For Country Music Legend Mel Tillis

Posted at 10:04 AM, Jan 31, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-31 22:16:13-05

A memorial service was held for country music legend Mel Tillis, who passed away in Florida on November 19 following a lengthy struggle with his health.

The memorial at 10 a.m. Wednesday lasted around two hours with various artists and musicians playing Tillis' music. His daughters Pam Tillis and Carrie April Tillis, as well as his son Sonny Tillis, sang. Many other notable artists also performed, like Lorrie Morgan, Ricky Skaggs, Jamey Johnson, and Alison Krauss.

"You could feel the emotion in the room. We felt dad's presence. We think he was proud," Pam Tillis said.

"It was a beautifully moving tribute. Everybody had their stamp on it," Carrie April Tillis added. 

Audio recordings and videos were also played showing Tillis' days in comedy and country music.

Reports stated Tillis died from suspected respiratory failure at the age of 85. He had a lengthy struggle to regain his health and battled intestinal issues since early 2016.

Visitation was held in November for Tillis in Clarksville and Florida. His funeral and private burial were also held in Clarksville.

Tillis' family planned the public memorial service to be open to fans and the music industry that was held Wednesday at the Ryman Auditorium.

Tillis was a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame. Kyle Young, the CEO of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, released the following statement following his passing:

"Mel Tillis spent a lifetime giving us joy and laughter and music, which is why his death brings such sadness. Had he never stepped on a stage, he would still have been one of the funniest and most genuine people on the planet. But his whimsy and warmth were only a part of his appeal. He wrote some of country music's most compelling and consequential songs, he fronted a remarkable band, and he sang with power and emotion. He also shone as an inspiration, revealing what others called an impediment as a vehicle for humor and hope."

Tillis left behind six children (Pam Tillis, Connie Tillis, Cindy Shorey, Sonny Tillis, Carrie April Tillis, and Hannah Puryear), six grandchildren, a great grandson, a sister (Linda Crosby) and brother (Richard Tillis), the mother of five of his children (Doris Tillis), his longtime partner (Kathy DeMonaco). His representativs also stated he left behind "many lifelong friends and fans around the world."