In a series of Tweets posted shortly after the news of Tillis’ passing spread on Sunday (Nov. 19), Shelton wrote, “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! 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 phone calls.”
“He did his best to try and keep my head on straight,” the superstar continued. “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 years since I saw him last. I deeply regret that now. What a truly devastating loss. I loved Mel. I will miss him terribly. My thoughts and prayers to all his family.”
Tillis, a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, and the Grand Ole Opry, was 85 years old at the time of his death. According to a press release, the cause of death is suspected to be respiratory failure.