Bill Withers, the legend who wrote and sang timeless classics that transcended genre — including “Lean on Me,” “Lovely Day” and “Ain’t No Sunshine” — has died from heart complications according t0 Rolling Stone. He was 81.
“We are devastated by the loss of our beloved, devoted husband and father,” the statement from his family said. “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.”
Unlike most popular singers, Withers — who grew up in Slab Fork, West Virginia — didn’t begin his professional career until he was in his thirties. And after just a handful of albums, he walked away from the business. Also like most of his peers, he never attempted to make a comeback. Withers was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2015; he attended the ceremony, but declined to perform, although John Legend pulled him on stage during “Lean On Me.”