‘Lean On Me' singer Bill Withers dies at 81


Posted at Apr 03 2020 11:23 PM | Updated as of Apr 04 2020 01:53 AM

A photo of Bill Withers arriving at the ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Music Awards in Beverly Hills back in June 26, 2006. Chriz Pizzello, Reuters

NEW YORK (UPDATED) -- Bill Withers, a soulful singer best known for the 1970s hits "Lean on Me,” “Lovely Day” and “Ain’t No Sunshine,” has died at age 81 from heart complications, Rolling Stone magazine reported on Friday, citing a statement from his family.

“We are devastated by the loss of our beloved, devoted husband and father,” the family statement 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," it continued. "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.”

Withers produced nine albums, most of them written and recorded in the 1970s, starting with the album "Just As I Am," which included "Ain't No Sunshine," which won him the first of three Grammy Awards, according to his official website.

His musical career ebbed in the 1980s as he left "the hype and the hoopla" of the musical spotlight for a more private life, it said.