Bill Withers, the voice behind beloved soul songs such as 'Lean On Me, ' has passed away due to heart complications. Withers co-wrote and sang on "Just the Two of Us", which was recorded by Grover Washington.
Withers' family, made up of his wife Marcia and two children, released a statement on Friday confirming the sad news. Many of them have been paying tribute on social media.
His music has been sampled and covered by artists including BlackStreet on No Diggity, Will Smith's version of Just The Two Of Us, Black Eyed Peas Bridging The Gap and Twista's Sunshine.
"He's the last African-American Everyman", Roots band leader Questlove, 49, once told Rolling Stone.More news: Retired NHS doctor 'dies after contracting Covid-19'
He poured his experiences of growing up in Slab Fork, a tough coal-mining town with a strong community ethos, into Lean on Me.
Withers spent nine years in the US Navy before pursuing a career in music. "I don't think I've done bad for a guy from Slab Fork".
In 1971, signed to Sussex Records, he put out his first album, "Just As I Am", with the legendary Booker T. Jones at the helm.
"I'm not a virtuoso, but I was able to write songs that people could identify with".More news: Didier Drogba Hits Back At 'Racist' Coronavirus Comments
In 1987, Bill received his ninth Grammy nomination and third Grammy as a songwriter for the re-recording of the 1972 hit Lean On Me. You gotta figure I was in my thirties when I started doing this, so I was socialized as another person before this. "I could probably have handled that differently", he said. Withers continued having hit records with Columbia, including the laid-back and optimistic Lovely Day.
After the latter failed to chart, Withers went into early retirement. "Writing in the Chicago Sun-Times, film critic Roger Ebert said: "[Withers] still lives and survives as a happy man.
Withers released his final album, Watching You Watching Me, in 1985, before going into early retirement.More news: Brothers Andrew and Chris Cuomo talk about coronavirus on TV