Mac Davis, Singer and 'In the Ghetto' Songwriter, Dead at 78

Singer/songwriter Mac Davis has died after it was reported this week that he was critically ill following heart surgery. He was 78 years old. Davis' manager, Jim Morey, confirmed the musician's death in a statement on Tuesday. "It's with a heavy heart that I announce the passing of Mac Davis," Morey wrote, sharing that Davis 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 continued. "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. When there was a tough decision to be made he often told me 'You decide. I'm going to the golf course!'"

Morey also shared a quote from Davis' song "I Believe in Music." "I could just sit around making music all day long / As long as I'm making my music ain't gonna do nobody no harm," the lyrics read. "And who knows maybe I'll come up with a song." "And he did...time after time," Morey concluded.

On Monday, Davis' family had announced that he was "critically ill" after undergoing heart surgery. "We are sorry to report that legendary singer/songwriter Mac Davis is critically ill following heart surgery in Nashville," they wrote. "Your love and prayers will be deeply appreciated at this time. #PrayForMacDavis. Thank you, The Davis Family."

Davis was born in 1942 in Lubbock, Texas, moving to Atlanta after high school where he began working in the music industry. He got his start as a songwriter at Nancy Sinatra's company, Boots Enterprises, Inc, where he wrote a number of songs recorded by artists including Elvis Presley, who sang Davis' "In the Ghetto," "Don't Cry Daddy" and "Memories." Davis signed with Columbia Records in 1970 and began releasing his own music, becoming a crossover success with songs like "Baby, Don't Get Hooked on Me" and "Stop and Smell the Roses."


In addition to his music career, Davis worked as an actor and appeared in several films and television shows. He also voiced multiple animated characters and hosted his own variety show on NBC, The Mac Davis Show, from 1974 to 1976.

In 1974, Davis was named ACM Entertainer of the Year, and in 1998, he earned a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He was inducted into the Nashville Songwriter's Hall of Fame in 2000 and the National Songwriters Hall of Fame in New York in 2006.