Country Music Hall of Famer Mel Tillis is ready to hit the road -- but not for a tour. He'll leave Nashville's TriStar Centennial Heart & Vascular Center Friday (March 14) after a heart surgery that his daughter Pam Tillis describes as a "routine procedure."

The beloved country singer looks positively jovial in the photo, taken while lying in the hospital bed with an ear-to-ear grin.

He's holding a sweet teddy bear and an award that inducts Tillis into the 'TriStar Centennial Heart Zipper Club,' which isn't a club that most people are clamoring to get into. But once you're in, you have the 'zipper' to prove it.

The country star's daughter says, "Dad is doing great and is happy to be leaving the hospital in time to catch today's Florida vs. Missouri game."

While he probably won't miss the hospital, the nurses may miss him. He apparently was quite the entertainer for the nurses -- and it's not hard to believe. After all, he's a top-notch entertainer who's been in the business for over 50 years.

The 81-year-old is a champ for getting through the heart operation, and now he can sit back, relax, heal, and enjoy some basketball!

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