Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter Bill Withers, whose hits “Lean On Me,” “Ain’t No Sunshine” and “Lovely Day” became our favorites, passed away Monday, his family told the Associated Press. He was 81.
Withers, who died from heart complications, has seen renewed interest in his positive music as of late as healthcare workers, including nurses and doctors, have gone viral for using his music to inspire others as they battle COVID-19, a novel coronavirus affecting millions around the world.
“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.”
The singer, whose songs have been featured in beloved films such as Crooklyn and The Secret Life of Pets among many others, earned a songwriting Grammy Award for penning “Ain’t No Sunshine” in 1971 and for “Just The Two Of Us” in 1981. Six years later, Withers would receive his third Grammy Award for songwriting thanks to Club Nouveau’s cover of the 1972 classic, “Lean On Me.” Withers was later inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2015 by his friend, Stevie Wonder.
Withers is survived by his wife, Marcia, and two children.