NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Mac Davis, the singer-songwriter behind some of country music’s most iconic hits, died Tuesday in Nashville after undergoing heart surgery.
The Country Music Association announced the 78-year-old’s death in a statement late Tuesday night.
“Today, our Country community lost an amazing entertainer, songwriter and artist,” Sarah Trahern, the Chief Executive Officer of the Country Music Association wrote.
She added, “His timeless artistry will be sorely missed.”
Davis’ long-time manager and friend Jim Morey said Davis was surrounded by family at the time of his passing.
“Mac Davis has been my client for over 40 years, and more importantly, my best friend,” Morey said. “He was a music legend, but his most important work was that as a loving husband, father, grandfather and friend. I will miss laughing about our many adventures on the road and his insightful sense of humor.”
Travis Tritt was among the country stars to tweet condolences for Davis.
“I grew up watching The Mac Davis show and loving his talent,” Tritt wrote. “This is heartbreaking!”
“Thank you, dear Lord Jesus, for letting us know the man to whom you gave the most incredible talent,” said Reba McEntire. “He entertained and spread joy to so many people. What a wonderful legacy he left all of us with his music. Mac was one of a kind. I’m so blessed to have been one of his many friends.”
“I met Mac as a young artist just starting out on my journey, when he was already a legend and a songwriting hero to me,” Kenny Chesney recalled. “He welcomed me into his home and turned that tremendous creative light on me. Even though he’d written “In the Ghetto” for Elvis and had so many incredible hits of his own, he made me feel like what I was doing mattered.
Davis wrote country hits for several major artists, including Elvis Presley’s “In The Ghetto” and “A Little Less Conversation.” He also penned songs recorded by Rascal Flatts, Dolly Parton, Ray Price and Kenny Rogers, among others.
Davis’ big hits led to a 1974-76 NBC-TV variety series, which was followed by numerous specials. Davis was named the Academy of Country Music’s Entertainer of the Year in 1974.
He went on to co-host the CMA Awards with Barbara Mandrell from 1980 to 1982.
Davis is survived by his wife of 38 years, Lise, and by sons Scott, Noah and Cody, daughters-in-law, Tammy, Amy, Cassia, granddaughter Lindsey, mother Edith and sister Linda. While details for arrangements are pending, Lise Davis said Mac will be buried in his hometown of Lubbock, Texas and in a nod to his song “Texas In My Rear View Mirror,” he will be in his jeans.