Mickey Gilley, the country singer whose Texas bar inspired the 1980 film Urban Cowboy, died on Saturday in Branson, Missouri.
Zach Farnum, his publicist, informed NPR of his death.
According to Farnum’s statement, “Gilley was 86 and had just returned from the road, his favorite location, after performing 10 gigs in April.” “With his family and close friends by his side, he went away peacefully.”
There was no information on the cause of death.
Between the late 1960s and the 1980s, Gilley had 17 No. 1 singles, including a version of “Room Full of Roses” in 1974. His heartfelt versions of early rock and roll tunes and soul songs established him as a cross-genre country musician.
Early years and celebrity
Gilley was born in Natchez, Mississippi, to Arthur Fillmore Gilley (November 27, 1897 – February 2, 1982) and Irene Gilley (née Lewis; September 11, 1900 – August 14, 1985) Gilley was the son of Arthur Fillmore Gilley (November 27, 1897 – February 2,
Gilley spent many years in the shadow of his famous cousin, Jerry Lee Lewis, who was a popular rock and roll singer and musician in the 1950s and early 1960s. Gilley grew raised in Louisiana, not far from where Lewis grew up on the Mississippi River. Gilley, Lewis, and Jimmy Swaggart, their cousin, used to play together as kids. They learned Lewis’ piano technique from him. [required citation]
Gilley did not become a professional singer until Lewis hit the top of the charts in the 1950s, although they sang both boogie-woogie and gospel music. Gilley went on to record a couple of tracks and work with producer Huey P. Meaux in New Orleans. In 1958, his Dot label release “Call Me Shorty” was a big hit. He gained a following at the Nesadel Club in Pasadena, Texas, where he played in the 1960s. Gilley’s debut album, Down the Line, was released by Paula Records in 1967. “Now I Can Live Again” was a modest success from the album.
Gilley teamed up with Sherwood Cryer in 1970 to form a collaboration. Sherri’s was Sherwood’s club. Gilley’s Club was his first nightclub, located in Pasadena, Texas. It was dubbed the “world’s largest honky-tonk” later on. Urban Cowboy, a film from 1980, featured Gilley’s Club and its mechanical bull. Sherwood Cryer requested Gilley to reopen Gilley’s Club alongside him, and Gilley agreed. Gilley’s club burnt down in 1990, and the rodeo arena was demolished to make space for a school in 2005.
Geraldine Garrett was Gilley’s first wife; they divorced in 1961. Three of his four children were raised by her ( Keith Ray, Michael, and Kathy ). On March 6th, 2010, she passed away. Gilley married Vivian McDonald for the second time in 1962. Gregory is the couple’s first child. In 2019, she died. In June of 2020, Mickey married Cindy Loeb, a longtime friend, and business partner.
Gilley was helping a neighbor move some furniture in July 2009 when he collapsed, shattering four vertebrae when the love seat toppled on top of him. He was briefly paralyzed from the neck down as a result of the tragedy, but he was able to walk again after a year of intensive physical therapy and returned to the stage. He lacked the hand-eye coordination required to play the piano, though.
Jeff Wagner, the mayor of Pasadena, Texas, announced his passing on May 7, 2022.
How did Mickey Gilley die?
In earlier years, Gilley had been afflicted by health problems. In August 2008, he underwent brain surgery after doctors discovered he had hydrocephalus, a condition marked by an excess of fluid in the brain.
Gilley had been suffering from short-term memory loss and believed that the procedure might help him avoid the onset of dementia.
After tumbling down a stairway in 2009, he had to cancel commitments in Branson. He broke his foot and injured his right shoulder in an automobile accident in 2018.
On Saturday, May 7, 2022, the mayor of Pasadena, Texas, Jeff Wagner, said that the singer died surrounded by his family.’
Mickey Gilley Cause of Death
Mickey Gilley died of natural cause as per the Facebook page of the City of Pasadena, Texas – Government.
Mickey Gilley Family
He married Cindy Loeb Gilley three times. He had four children, three with Geraldine Garrett and one with Vivian McDonald, from his first marriage.
Gilley, a Natchez, Mississippi native, grew up poor in Ferriday, Louisiana, where he learned boogie-woogie piano from Lewis and his future preacher cousin Jimmy Swaggart. He, too, would sneak into Louisiana pubs to listen to rhythm & blues. He moved to Houston to work in construction by day, but by night he was performing in local clubs and recording and touring for years until breaking out in the 1970s.