Bill Withers, who wrote and sang some 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 at the age of 81.
This was revealed by his family members in a statement that reveals that the three-time Grammy Award winner, who withdrew from making music in the mid-1980s, died on Monday in Los Angeles.
The statement reads:
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.
Wither’s songs have been played on different occasions all over the world, from weddings, to religious occasions and so much more.
Lean On Me, an anthem of friendship, was performed at the inaugurations of both Barack Obama and Bill Clinton as reported by The Daily Mail.
Though his songs often dealt with relationships, Withers also wrote ones with social commentary, including ‘Better Off Dead’ about an alcoholic´s suicide, and ‘I Can´t Write Left-Handed,’ about an injured Vietnam War veteran.
He was awarded Grammys as a songwriter for Ain´t No Sunshine in 1971 and for Just The Two Of Us in 1981. 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 by Club Nouveau.
His music has been sampled and covered by such artists as BlackStreet´s ‘No Diggity,’ Will Smith´s version of ‘ Just The Two Of Us, ‘ Black Eyed Peas´ ‘Bridging The Gap’ and Twista´s ‘Sunshine.’ The song ‘Lean on Me’ was the title theme of a 1989 movie starring Morgan Freeman.