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Mac Davis
Mac Davis performs at The CMA Songwriters Series at the Library of Congress in Washington Tuesday, April 21, 2015. (Lisa Nipp for CMA)

Country Music Singer-Songwriter Mac Davis Dead At 78

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NASHVILLE, TN (CelebrityAccess) — Mac Davis, a country music artist who started his career writing music for Elvis Presley but later launched a recording career of his own has died. He was 78.

News of Davis’ passing was announced by his longtime manager Jim Morey via social media on Tuesday night.

“It’s with a heavy heart that I announce the passing of Mac Davis. He was surrounded by the love of his life and wife of 38 years, Lise, and his sons Scott, Noah and Cody. Mac has been my client for over 40 years, and more importantly, my best friend. 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.”

While a cause of death for Davis was not disclosed, his family on Monday revealed that he was in critical condition after undergoing heart surgery.

A native of Texas, Davis relocated to Atlanta after graduating high school and formed his own rock band The Zots. He also began working with several local record labels, including OEK Records, Vee Jay Records and eventually, Liberty Records.

By the mid-1960s, he was also working as a songwriter, starting at Nancy Sinatra’s Boots Enterprises, where he penned hits such as “In The Ghetto”. “It’s Such a Lonely Time of Year”, and “Memories” for recording artists that included Sinatra, as well as Elvis Presley, Bobby Goldsboro, and B.J. Thomas.

In 1970, he launched a recording career of his own after signing with Columbia Records and he quickly topped the charts with “Baby Don’t Get Hooked on Me” which had sold more than 1 million copies by 1972.

In 1974, Davis was awarded the Academy of Country Music’s Entertainer of the Year award with hits that included “Stop and Smell the Roses”, “One Hell of a Woman” and the 1980 novelty hit “It’s Hard to Be Humble”.

Davis also landed roles as an actor, including hosting the Muppet Show, playing Robert Redford’s younger brother Johnny Hooker, in the heist move “The Sting II” and portraying Will Rogers in the Broadway production of The Will Rogers Follies and its attendant national tour.

He married three times and had three children: Joel Scott, Noah Claire, and Cody Luke.

Following his passing, the Country Music Association released a statement.

“Today our Country community lost an amazing entertainer, songwriter and artist. I remember watching Mac’s TV show as a kid as well as his three years co-hosting the CMA Awards with Barbara Mandrell, which proved his command of the TV medium as well as the music. Personally, though, I am saddened to recall a wonderful day spent with Mac and his wife Lise Gerard at our CMA Songwriters Series show at the Library of Congress just a few years ago. He held command of the room backstage with lively stories and a genuine love of the craft of storytelling. When he performed “In the Ghetto” that night, fellow songwriter Pam Tillis pointed out that sadly the song is as pertinent today as it was when Mac wrote it in the late 1960s. His timeless artistry will be sorely missed.”

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