Bill Withers, who wrote and sang a series of time-tested soulful songs in the 1970s, including “Lean On Me,” “Lovely Day” and “Ain’t No Sunshine,” died of heart problems, his family said Friday in a statement. He was 81 years old.
The three-time recipient of the Grammy Award, who stopped music making in the mid-1980s, died in Los Angeles on Monday, the statement said.
His death comes as the public was motivated by his music during the coronavirus pandemic, with healthcare staff, choirs, musicians and more sharing their own “Lean on Me” renditions to help them get through the tough 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.
“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.”