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Country music icon Mickey Gilley dies at age 86

Mickey Gilley poses with the triple crown award on the red carpet at the 50th annual Academy of...
Mickey Gilley poses with the triple crown award on the red carpet at the 50th annual Academy of Country Music Awards at AT&T Stadium on Sunday, April 19, 2015, in Arlington, Texas.(Jack Plunkett/Invision/AP)
Published: May. 7, 2022 at 4:36 PM CDT|Updated: May. 7, 2022 at 5:12 PM CDT
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PASADENA, Texas (KLTV) - Country music legend Mickey Gilley has died, according to Pasadena Mayor Jeff Wagner.

KTRK in Houston reported that Gilley died at the age of 86.

“Pasadena has lost a true legend,” Wagner said in a post on the City of Pasadena website. “Mickey Gilley passed away today, surrounded by his loved ones. It was my great honor to know this man most of my life.”

In the post, Wagner said described Gilley as a “true musical talent” who charted 42 singles in the Top 40 country charts over the span of two decades.

“His talent and larger-than-life personality helped ignite a new interest in country music as he introduced the world to Pasadena through his dance hall and ‘Urban Cowboy’ in 1980,” Wagner said in the Facebook post. “We were so honored to have Mickey perform at our State of the City in February 2020.”

Country legend Mickey Gilley performs at Pasadena's State of the City event in February of...
Country legend Mickey Gilley performs at Pasadena's State of the City event in February of 2020. (Source: City of Pasadena Facebook page)(City of Pasadena Facebook page)

Wagner said their prayers for peace and comfort are with Gilley’s family, loved ones, and fans.

Gilley had been dealing with health issues before his death. On May 1, a post on Gilley’s official Facebook page stated, “I am so sorry to have canceled the May dates at the theater in Branson. The last couple of weeks, my energy level and some health issues kept me from being 100 % at my shows.”

In 2018, Gilley was injured in a two-vehicle rollover wreck that occurred on U.S. Highway 59 in Corrigan. The driver of another vehicle failed to yield the right of way at the intersection of FM 1987, struck the vehicle Gilley was driving, and caused it to roll over.

Diboll police officers posed with Gilley in 2015 after they pulled him over for speeding. They issued him a warning for the traffic violation.

Even though Gilley was not from the Lone Star State, he was inducted into the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame in 2011. That year, KLTV’s Joan Hallmark interviewed the country music legend for her Proud of East Texas series.

At the time of the interview with Hallmark, Gilley was recovering from a fall that paralyzed him. He told Hallmark that he is no longer able to play the piano.

“Gilley says ‘Gilley’s; The World’s Biggest Honkey Tonk’ was the turning point in his career,” a previous East Texas News story stated. “He also had his first hit record the same year Gilley’s opened. When John Travolta tagged Gilley’s as the setting for ‘Urban Cowboy,’ success became supersized.”

Gilley was born March 9, 1936, in Mississippi, Hallmark said in her story. He grew up playing “boogie woogie” with his cousins, Jerry Lee Lewis and Jimmy Swaggert.

Previous stories: Country music legend Mickey Gilley injured in 2-vehicle rollover wreck in East Texas

Diboll PD officers meet country music legend during traffic stop

Proud of East Texas: Mickey Gilley

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