Tue | Jul 7, 2020

‘Lean On Me,’ ‘Lovely Day’ singer Bill Withers dies at 81

Published:Friday | April 3, 2020 | 10:00 AM
In this June 21, 2006 file photo, singer-songwriter Bill Withers poses in his office in Beverly Hills, California. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon, File)

Bill Withers, who wrote and sang a string of soulful songs in the 1970s that have stood the test of time, including 'Lean on Me', 'Lovely Day' and 'Ain’t No Sunshine', has died from heart complications, his family said in a statement to The Associated Press.

He was 81.

The three-time Grammy Award winner, who withdrew from making music in the mid-1980s, died on Monday in Los Angeles, the statement said.

His death comes as the public has drawn inspiration from his music during the coronavirus pandemic, with health care workers, choirs, artists and more posting their own renditions on “Lean on Me” to help get through the difficult times.

“We are devastated by the loss of our beloved, devoted husband and father. A solitary man with a heart driven to connect to the world at large, with his poetry and music, he spoke honestly to people and connected them to each other,” the family statement read.

Withers’ songs during his brief career have become the soundtracks of countless engagements, weddings and backyard parties.

They have powerful melodies and perfect grooves melded with a smooth voice that conveys honesty and complex emotions without vocal acrobatics.

“Lean on Me,” a paean to friendship, was performed at the inaugurations of both Barack Obama and Bill Clinton. 

“Ain’t No Sunshine” and “Lean on Me” are among Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

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