Charlie Zill, the popular long-time usher at Camden Yards who entertained Orioles fans with his “Zillbilly” dance during the seventh-inning stretch, died late Saturday night of lung cancer. He was 56.
Zill, who had been diagnosed with cancer three and a half years ago, attended his final Orioles game April 17 as a guest of the club.
Wearing an Orioles cap and jersey over his trademark “Zillbilly” overalls, he threw out the first pitch from his wheelchair before the Orioles took the field against the Tampa Bay Rays. During the seventh-inning stretch, he was shown on the video board twirling his signature orange fiddle and mugging for the cameras from the balcony of his club-level suite.
“He was just so happy,” his wife, Trudy Zill, said of that evening. “He was just ecstatic. He talked about that for days afterward.”
Zill had been an usher at Orioles game for 17 seasons before taking a medical leave of absence this year.
In addition to performing as the “Zillbilly” with straw hat, fake teeth and hillbilly overalls to John Denver’s “Country Boy” during the seventh-inning stretch, Zill performed magic tricks for fans in Section 244 between innings and during rain delays and pitching changes.
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