Country Stars Mourn Mel Tillis

Blake Shelton, Tim McGraw Share Cherished Memories

Even though country legend Mel Tillis had his heyday a few decades ago — from the late ’60s to the early ’80s — he made an indelible mark on the country singers and songwriters who followed his lead. And after the news of his death at age 85 spread on Sunday morning (Nov. 19), the country artists took to social media to share their stories and fond memories.

Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love To Town by Mel Tillis on VEVO.

Blake Shelton: “What a truly devastating loss. I loved Mel. I will miss him terribly. My thoughts and prayers to all his family. He did his best to try and keep my head on straight. I looked up to Mel more than he could’ve possibly known. A talented songwriter. An incredible entertainer. And a funny funny guy. It has been a couple of years since I saw him last. I deeply regret that now. He once spent an entire day at his place in Tennessee showing me all the memorabilia he’d gathered over the years where he gave me a pair of his stage boots. He even took time to talk me through some hard times in my life on a couple of phone calls. Some of my most cherished memories are the times I spent with Mel Tillis. Many many great memories. From fishing, to just having a beer, to him crashing my concert!”

Tim McGraw: “Man, one of the coolest guys in country music ever and an extraordinary songwriter! So glad I got a chance to hang out with him a bit early in my career. Thinking about his family…”

John Rich: “Mel Tillis and I became laughin buddies many years ago! He was truly one of a kind, and it was a real privilege to call him my friend. This is my favorite pic of him hosting ‘Dirty Joke Night’ at my house a few years back.”

Reba McEntire: “What a wonderful entertainer and a special friend. I sure will miss you. Rest in peace.”

Rascal Flatts: “What an incredible loss for the country music world. Mel Tillis will be greatly missed.”

Travis Tritt: “Genuinely saddened over the passing of Mel Tillis. One of the nicest and funniest individuals I’ve ever met. Fishing with him was the greatest! My thoughts are with @PamTillis and the family today. RIP”

The Oak Ridge Boys: “We lost Mel Tillis today on this earth… He has gone home… He was always good to us. He taught us a lot in our early days Great singer, great writer and oh so funny… the jokes never ended! So crazy that we are in Independence KS today Rest Easy Mel.”

Charles Esten: “So sad to hear of the passing of the great songwriter and one-of-a-kind entertainer, Mel Tillis. My heart goes out to his family, especially our dear Nashville friend.”

Scotty McCreery: “Country music lost a legend today. RIP Mel Tillis. Your music will live forever.”

Easton Corbin: “Mel Tillis was such a great songwriter and entertainer – a true inspiration to us all. My heart goes out to his family. We’ll miss you, Mel!”

Steve Wariner: “With utmost respect and gratitude we say thank you Mel Tillis, for your great music and wonderful legacy. RIP my friend.”

Randy Travis: “Mel was a special friend, great artist, and constant inspiration to me–Heaven’s choir just got sweeter.”

Alabama‘s Randy Owen: “Hall of Fame entertainer and songwriter — he was all in one, a great combination. He is one of our biggest heroes.”

Charlie Daniels: “Mel Tillis, you will be missed by so many of us you touched over the years. Rest in peace my friend.”

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.