Country singer and songwriter Mel Tillis has died, PEOPLE confirms. He was 85.
The country legend had battled intestinal issues since early 2016 and died following a lengthy struggle to regain his health in a Florida hospital, a statement from Tillis’ representatives said.
Tillis’ suspected cause of death is respiratory failure.
The Country Music Hall of Fame inductee, who was beloved for his stutter, wrote hits for Kenny Rogers and had several top 10 country singles including “Good Woman Blues,” ”Coca Cola Cowboy” and “Southern Rain.”
In a statement posted to her own Facebook official page, Tillis’ daughter, country star Pam Tillis — one of his six children — said she was “deeply saddened” by his death.
“Pam’s father was dearly loved and one of a kind,” the statement shared on behalf of the singer, 60, said. “Please take a moment and visit Official Mel Tillis and let them know how you felt about this south Florida poet that was a master songwriter, brilliant comedian and beloved father.”
Following the news of his passing, country musicians and fans mourned Tillis on Twitter.
“What an incredible loss for the country music word. Mel Tillis will be greatly missed,” wrote country music trio Rascal Flatts.
Blake Shelton added in his own tweet: “What a truly devastating loss. I loved Mel. I will miss him terribly. My thoughts and prayers to all his family.”
The Country Music Association — who awarded Tillis with the entertainer of the year award in 1976 — also offered up their condolences. “We are deeply saddened by the passing of Mel Tillis. Our thoughts are with his family during this difficult time,” they wrote.