The Tragic Death Of Country Music Star Mickey Gilley

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Country music fans are mourning the death of Mickey Gilley. According to the Daily Mail, the mayor of Pasadena, Texas, Jeff Wagner, announced that Gilley died on May 7 while "surrounded by his loved ones" in Branson, Missouri. He was survived by his third wife and four children. The country singer-songwriter was famous for his 17 No. 1 country singles and his stadium-sized venue in Pasadena. The Texas honky tonk Gilley's Club became world-famous in 1980, as it inspired the mega-hit film "Urban Cowboy," starring John Travolta and Debra Winger.

The New York Times reported that Gilley had 34 singles reach the country music Top 10. Still, the Mississippi-born crooner had an interesting family life before he made his country music hits. Gilley was raised in Louisiana, near his cousins, singer Jerry Lee Lewis and preacher Jimmy Swaggart. J.D. Davis even wrote a book about the three cousins in 2012, "Unconquered: The Saga of Cousins Jerry Lee Lewis, Jimmy Swaggart, and Mickey Gilley." In 1994, Gilley told the Los Angeles Times, "The only reason I got into the music industry was because of Jerry Lee." The singer and honky tonk owner said, "I saw what he was doing ... I thought all I had to do was cut a record and I'm a star. How wrong I was!" Gilley said he had to work construction during the day, while singing at night when he started. But the country crooner had an entire second career after "Urban Cowboy" became a hit in 1980.

Urban Cowboy gave Mickey Gilley a second career

Mickey Gilley's honky tonk was the backdrop for the John Travolta film "Urban Cowboy," with its huge dance floor and the famous mechanical bull. "Urban Cowboy" and the Pasadena club have been credited with helping launch country music's revival in the late '70s and early '80s, per Deadline. The movie even launched Gilley's second act. 

"I thank John Travolta every night before bed for keeping my career alive," he confessed to the Associated Press in 2002, according to USA Today. "It's impossible to tell you how grateful I am for my involvement with 'Urban Cowboy.' That film had a huge impact on my career and still does." "Urban Cowboy" boosted Gilley's music career, resulting in nine No. 1 country singles from 1980 to 1983, according to ExtraTV. The country singer-songwriter also became a popular guest star on the biggest television shows of the '80s. Upon hearing the news of Gilley's death, the country band The Oak Ridge Boys tweeted: "Just heard that MIKEY GILLEY has just passed away ... wow ... another singing friend has gone home ... Bye Mickey ... until the day."

After bringing so much fame to the state, Gilley became an adopted son of Texas. And one tweet summed up the sadness many Texans are feeling over Gilley's death. A columnist for Texas Monthly tweeted a photo of a Lone Star beer with the caption: "Pour one out for Mickey Gilley tonight. RIP honky-tonker."