Mickey Gilley, country music maker and inspiration behind Urban Cowboy, has died at the age of 86


Mickey Gilly, the country music singer who hit a string of blockbuster hits in the ’70s and ’80s, has died at the age of 86.

mayor of pasadena, TexasJeff Wagner announced that the singer died on Saturday “surrounded by loved ones.”

Gilly helped put the city near Houston on the map when the football field-sized Gillies Club opened there, helping to inspire John Travolta’s hit Urban Cowboy in 1980.

Music legend: Mickey Gilly, the country music singer who made a string of blockbuster hits in the '70s and '80s, has died at the age of 86;  seen in 2015

Music legend: Mickey Gilly, the country music singer who made a string of blockbuster hits in the ’70s and ’80s, has died at the age of 86; seen in 2015

Gilly died in Branson, Missouri, where the Mickey Gilly Grand Shanghai Theater was located.

Although best known for his country music, the singer was rock ‘n’ roll cousin Jerry Lee Lewis.

In 1970, the Gillies Club opened in Pasadena, which included a smaller club and a larger rodeo. The huge venue eventually became known as “The World’s Largest Honky Tonk”.

Alias: In 1970, the Gillies Club opened in Pasadena, which included a smaller club and a larger rodeo. The huge venue eventually became known as “The World’s Largest Honky Tonk”; Seen circa 1970

Real life: The club inspired an Esquire article about a couple spending time in a honky tonk, which in turn was the inspiration for the popular 1980 movie Urban Cowboy, starring John Travolta and Debra Winger (pictured)

Real life: The club inspired an Esquire article about a couple spending time in a honky tonk, which in turn was the inspiration for the popular 1980 movie Urban Cowboy, starring John Travolta and Debra Winger (pictured)

The club inspired an Esquire article about a couple spending time in a honky tonk, which in turn was the inspiration for the popular 1980 film Urban Cowboy, starring John Travolta and Debra Winger.

The film, which was a huge success at the box office and with critics, has been compared favorably to Travolta’s previous film Saturday Night Fever, although this time it focused on country music rather than disco.

The exact circumstances of the death of the Mississippi native were not disclosed.

Mayor announced: Pasadena, Texas Mayor Jeff Wagner announced the singer's death Saturday while 'surrounded by loved ones' via a Facebook post

Mayor announced: Pasadena, Texas Mayor Jeff Wagner announced the singer’s death Saturday while ‘surrounded by loved ones’ via a Facebook post

A REAL TALENT: “Mickey was a real musical talent who charted 42 top 40 singles over two decades,” he wrote in the caption.

The announcement comes after Geely’s last tour date was canceled on May 1, due to “health issues” and “energy levels” that prevented him from being “100 percent” in his shows.

At the time, the music legend announced he was getting medical help: ‘I was looking for doctors to get me back on track’, he wrote on Facebook, adding: ‘I hope to be revitalized, healthy and back in full swing See you guys at Our offers coming soon! “

Wagner broke the news via a Facebook post that featured photos of the star, writing, “Pasadena has lost a true legend. Mickey Gilly passed away today surrounded by loved ones. It’s a great honor to have known this man most of my life.”

He continued, “Mickey was a true musical talent who charted 42 singles in the Top 40 country charts over two decades.”

Chart topper: He has received many awards, including six ACM Awards and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  He was also inducted into the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame.  Pictured in 1980

Chart topper: He has received many awards, including six ACM Awards and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He was also inducted into the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame. Pictured in 1980

“His talent and great personality helped spark a new interest in country music as he introduced the world to Pasadena through his ballroom and ‘Urban Cowboy’ in 1980.”

“I was honored to have Mickey at City State in February 2020. Our prayers for comfort and peace are with Mickey’s family, loved ones and fans.”

Gilly debuted on the chart with Is It Wrong For Loving You, earning a total of 39 top 10 hits, with 17 of them making it to number one.

He has received numerous awards and accolades, including six ACM awards and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He was also inducted into the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame.

Mickey is survived by his wife Cindy Loeb Gilly and his four children.

Health issues: This announcement comes after Geely’s last tour date was canceled on May 1, due to “health issues” and “energy levels”; Pictured June 12, 2015 in Nashville

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