Bill Withers has died, aged 81

The music world pays tribute to a soul-singing great

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From his home at the top of the Pennines

Soul singer Bill Withers has died from heart complications, aged 81.

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

Withers was responsible for a string of unforgettable soul hits in the 1970s, including “Ain’t No Sunshine”, “Lean On Me”, “Just The Two Of Us” and “Lovely Day”, as well as timeless albums such as 1972’s Still Bill.

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The West Virginia-born singer chose to walk away from his music career in the mid-’80s, his last album being 1985’s Watching You Watching Me.

“So sorry to hear about Bill Withers,” wrote Nitin Sawhney on Twitter. “I met him once in 2017. What an elegant, graceful man. In recent years I got to know and work with his brilliant daughter, Kori who inherits his talent and musical depth. What a sad and terrible loss.”

“RIP Bill Withers,” wrote Nile Rodgers. “Class, class and more class.”

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