Rock and Roll Hall of Fame singer and songwriter Bill Withers has died. His family says the 81-year-old passed away from heart complications.
The family released the following statement:
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. As private a life as he lived close to intimate family and friends, his music forever belongs to the world. In this difficult time, we pray his music offers comfort and entertainment as fans hold tight to loved ones. We know his legacy will live in our hearts and in yours for generations to come.
We will miss his sharp wit, playful sense of humor, and no-nonsense way of turning a phrase as no one else could. He was a deeply proud man, full of integrity and principle, and we as his family are immensely proud of him for sharing his musical and lyrical gifts so elegantly and generously with the world. A master of writing love songs, he loved music, cherished and protected his family, and our love for him is immeasurable.
The Withers Family
Bill Withers was inducted into the Rock Hall in 2015 at a ceremony in Cleveland, where he displayed that comedic touch. Jack Marchbanks and I attended the event and produced a radio special featuring all the inductees. Here’s a sample that includes remarks from Withers and part of his performance with Stevie Wonder and John Legend.
Here's the full song courtesy of the Rock Hall on YouTube. Born in West Virginia, Withers joined the Navy at the age of 17. After his service, he moved to Los Angeles to begin his music career. His first album came in 1971.