Nashville, TN.- Mel Tillis, hit country songwriter for artists such as Kenny Rogers and who overcame a stutter to sing himself, passed away early Sunday morning at an Ocala, Florida hospital.

Tillis was 85 years old.

Don Murry Grubbs, a spokesman for Tillis, said he battled intestinal issues since 2016 and never recovered. The suspected cause of death is respiratory failure.

Tillis, a Country Music Hall of Famer, won CMA’s entertainer of the year in 1976.

Some of the songs Tillis wrote for other artists include: “Detroit City” for Bobby Bare, and “Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town,” by Rogers and the First Edition.

Tillis is the father of country singer, Pam Tillis, who recorded more than 60 albums and had several top 10 country singles.