(Reuters) – Mac Davis, a singer, songwriter and television personality who wrote hit songs for several country music stars after his breakout song, “In the Ghetto,” was recorded by Elvis Presley, has died at 78, his manager said.
In a statement posted on Facebook late on Tuesday, manager Jim Morey said Davis, whose family announced earlier this week that he was critically ill following heart surgery in Nashville, Tennessee, was surrounded by his wife Lise and three sons when he died.
“He was a music legend, but his most important work was that as a loving husband, father, grandfather and friend,” wrote Morey, who had managed the musician for more than 40 years.
“I will miss laughing about our many adventures on the road and his insightful sense of humor,” he added.
Country music star Kenny Chesney called Davis a legend who took the time to help nurture his own fledgling career.
“That was Mac: a giant heart, quick to laugh and a bigger creative spirit,” Chesney said in a statement. “I was blessed to have it shine on me.”
Born in Lubbock, Texas, on Jan. 21, 1942, Davis found fame as a songwriter when Presley recorded his music, including “Memories,” “Don’t Cry Daddy” and “In the Ghetto” in 1968 and 1969.
Davis went on to write songs for Glen Campbell (“Everything a Man Could Ever Need”), Kenny Rogers & the First Edition (“Something’s Burning”) and Bobby Goldsboro (“Watching Scotty Grow”) before launching his own singing career in the 1970s.
His 1972 release “Baby, Don’t Get Hooked on Me” was nominated for a Grammy Award.
Davis, who also recorded “Stop and Smell the Roses,” had his own country music television variety show for three seasons in the mid-1970s.
The show helped him launch an acting career in which he had numerous guest spots and supporting roles on television programs and TV movies over the next 40 years. He also appeared in a few feature films, including “North Dallas Forty” in 1979.
Davis, who was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2006.
(Reporting by Peter Szekely in New York; editing by Jonathan Oatis)