Following an illness, surgery and subsequent hospital stay that began in early 2016, country legend Mel Tillis is (finally) back at home.

In January of 2016, Tillis was hospitalized for diverticulitis, then had colon surgery; on his way to the hospital at that time, he became septic, his daughter, Pam Tillis, recently shared on her Facebook page, and he spent about a month in the ICU. Following the surgery, rumors began circulating that the country icon was in critical condition; however, the reports, which originated with tweets from fellow artists, were greatly exaggerated.

Since that time, Tillis has been slowly recovering: He remained hospitalized and in various care facilities in Nashville until November, a press release and his daughter report, at which time he returned to his home state of Florida, first to a hospital and then to his home in Ocala. At home, Tillis is under the care of nurses and in physical therapy.

"His vitals are good, and his sense of humor is very much intact. He is trying to get stronger, and we are hopeful that will be the case now that he's back at home," Don Murry Grubbs, Tillis' publicist, explains in a statement issued on Tuesday (Jan. 4). "He misses all of his loyal fans and is beyond thankful for all of the well wishes. Your continued thoughts and prayers are greatly appreciated."

In her Facebook update, posted in late December, Pam Tillis admits, "Information hasn’t flowed easily, and we’ve been fiercely private about many of the details of [Mel Tillis'] illness," adding that there have been "some very tough moments" throughout the last year, and her family's "total focus was paying attention to him and his recovery."

Pam Tillis, too, notes that her father is missing his fans "as much as they miss him," and asks for prayers as her father continues his recovery.

"Keep him in your prayers," she writes. "They have worked."

Mel Tillis rose to fame in the 1970s and was inducted into both the Grand Ole Opry and the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2007. In 2014, he underwent emergency heart surgery.

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