VIvian Gilley, the longtime wife of country singer Mickey Gilley and a music business force in her own right, passed away on Friday (Dec. 13) after a battle with Alzheimer's disease. She was 80 years old.
A day prior, Mickey Gilley tweeted about about Vivian's health struggles while declaring 2019 "a year of heart break."
2019 has been a year of heart break! My wife of 57 years has only a few hrs left. This is the saddest time of my life. Prayer is needed. Luv mg
— Mickey Gilley (@MickeyGilley1) December 13, 2019
The former Vivian McDonald was born on Aug. 10, 1939 to parents Dora and Reagan McDonald. She married Mickey Gilley on Dec. 27, 1962: two years before the release of his debut album. The future country music star was previously wed to Geraldine Garrett from 1953 to 1961.
Vivian Gilley worked as a manager at the couple's Pasadena, Texas club Gilley's, which became an iconic modern honky-tonk after being featured in the 1980 movie Urban Cowboy. Later on, she managed her husband's career. Mickey Gilley's musical output slightly before and immediately after Urban Cowboy's success included 17 straight top 10 hits between 1980 and '86, including "Stand By Me" and "True Love Ways."
Vivian Gilley is survived by her husband, their son Gregory, and three stepchildren: Keith and his wife Joyce, Kathy and Michael and his wife Susan. Other survivors include four grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren and several nieces and nephews. She was also related through marriage to her husband's famous cousins, Jerry Lee Lewis and Jimmy Swaggart.
Per a press release shared on Mickey Gilley's Facebook page, his wife spent recent years battling Alzheimer's at Cottages at Clear Lake and Dignity Hospice.
In lieu of flowers, the Gilley family requests donations to any non-profit funding Alzheimer's research.
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