Country Star Mickey Gilley Dies At 86


Country star Mickey Gilley, whose many hits include his 1974 cover of “Room Full of Roses,” died Saturday in Branson, Missouri at 86.

A cause of death was not immediately disclosed but his publicist Zach Farnum said Gilley was surrounded by family and close friends. The singer had recently returned home after performing a run of shows last month.

Born in Mississippi and raised in Louisiana, Gilley was a cousin of Jerry Lee Lewis. He recorded a pair of albums in the ‘60s but didn’t find success until releasing Room Full of Roses in 1974. It, and the follow-up City Lights, went to No. 1 on the U.S. Country chart and Gilley had four other albums – plus a greatest hits collection – in the Top 10 during the ‘70s.

In Canada, Gilley had nearly a dozen No. 1 hits, including “Don’t the Girls All Get Prettier at Closing Time,” “She’s Pulling Me Back Again,” “Tears of the Lonely” and “Too Good to Stop Now.”

The singer opened Gilley’s Club in Pasadena, Texas in 1970. Hyped as “the world’s biggest honky-tonk,” it inspired the 1980 movie Urban Cowboy starring John Travolta.

Gilley earned five ACM Awards in the '70s and, in 2005, was presented with the ACM Triple Crown award. He also received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1984.

He is survived by his third wife Cindy and children Kathy, Michael, Gregory and Keith Ray, as well as four grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.

“If I had one wish in life, I would wish for more time,” Gilley told The Associated Press in 2001, adding that he would not do anything differently. “I am doing exactly what I want to do. I play golf, fly my airplane and perform at my theatre.”

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