BRANSON, Mo. (WKRN) – Country music singer and actor Mickey Gilley died Saturday at the age of 86 in Branson, Missouri, according to a press release.
Gilley was known for launching the Urban Cowboy movement in country music as well as hit songs like “Stand By Me,” “Room Full of Roses” and “Lonely Nights.” His death comes after playing ten shows on the road in April; he died peacefully with his family and close friends by his side.
A native of Natchez, Mississippi, Gilley influenced generations of country music singers over several decades. He was known for his combination of Louisiana rhythm and blues and country-pop crossover melodies. He grew up with his two famous cousins, Jerry Lee Lewis and Jimmy Swaggart, and earned 39 Top 10 hits and 17 No. 1 songs throughout his career.
Gilley opened his famous honky-tonk Gilley’s in Pasadena, Texas in 1971, sparking a chain of the famous nightclubs as well as the Mickey Gilley Grand Shanghai Theatre in Branson, Missouri.
Aside from music, Gilley took a prominent role in the hit movie “Urban Cowboy” in 1980, alongside John Travolta, Debra Winger and Johnny Lee, molding Gilley into a significant figure in pop culture. Gilley’s served as the backdrop for the film, which helped launch his acting career and skyrocketed his music career to a whole new level.
Gilley went on to star in popular television series including “Murder She Wrote,” “The Fall Guy,” “Fantasy Island” and “Dukes of Hazzard.”
His accolades include six Academy of Country Music Awards, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and induction into the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame in 2011, becoming one of only a handful of artists to receive the Academy of Country Music’s Triple Crown Awards.
Gilley was preceded in death by his wife Vivian. He is survived by his wife Cindy Loeb Gilley, his children Kathy, Michael, Gregory and Keith Ray, four grandchildren, nine great grandchildren and his cousins Jerry Lee Lewis and Jimmy Swaggart.