Bill Withers has passed away aged 81

Grammy Award winning soul vocalist Bill Withers has passed away aged 81 due to heart complications. Withers’ family released a statement overnight announcing the death of the Hall Of Fame singer, with tributes flooding in from fans and friends across the world.

Withers penned the timeless songs Ain’t No SunshineLean on Me, and Lovely Day, winning three Grammys for his work before retiring from the spotlight in 1985. He has been remembered as a key influence in the American Soul tradition, and within the music community at large.

Bill Withers
Photo: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

“His music forever belongs to the world.” Tributes from fans and friends of Bill Withers are flowing in from across the world, remembering the late singer as a maestro of the soul movement.

“We are devastated by the loss of our beloved, devoted husband and father,” Withers family said in their statement, announcing the singer’s death. “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.”

Hamilton playwright and composer Lin-Manuel Miranda was among those to pay tribute to the late singer, writing on Twitter “Rest In Peace, maestro Bill Withers. What a legacy.” Chance the Rapper paid his tributes, tweeting that Withers’ music reminded him of “playing records at my grandma’s house,” while Chic’s Nile Rodgers remembered the singer as “class, class and more class”.

Withers released eight albums before moving away from the public eye in the 80’s, however left his mark on the music community. His hit songs have been covered countless times and are played in households across the world.

His song Lean on Me has re-emerged in recent weeks as an anthem of hope and solidarity during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.