Bill Withers, Hall of Fame Soul Singer, Dead at 81 ~ RollingStone

Grammy-winning mellifluous vocalist behind “Lean on Me,” “Lovely Day,” and “Ain’t No Sunshine” succumbs to heart complications

UNSPECIFIED - JANUARY 01:  Photo of Bill WITHERS; Posed portrait of Bill Withers  (Photo by Gilles Petard/Redferns)

Bill Withers, the mellifluous vocalist behind “Lean on Me,” “Lovely Day” and “Ain’t No Sunshine,” has died at age 81. Gilles Petard/Redferns/Getty Images

 

Bill Withers, the soul legend who penned timeless songs like “Lean on Me,” “Lovely Day,” and “Ain’t No Sunshine,” died Monday from heart complications in Los Angeles. He was 81.

“We are devastated by the loss of our beloved, devoted husband and father,” his family said in a statement. “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.”

The three-time Grammy winner released just eight albums before walking away from the spotlight in 1985, but he left an incredible mark on the music community and the world at large. Songs like “Lean On Me,” “Grandma’s Hands,” “Use Me,” “Ain’t No Sunshine,” and “Lovely Day” are embedded in the culture and have been covered countless times. While many of Withers’ biggest songs were recorded in the Seventies, they have proven to be timeless hits. “Lean on Me” emerged once again in recent weeks as an anthem of hope and solidarity in the time of COVID-19.

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