By JOHN DALY
Bill Withers, whose songs “Lean On Me” and “Ain’t No Sunshine” are among some of the most beloved tunes of all time, was more than a musician, he was a beloved father and friend. He was also a gracious Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee in 2015.
Withers passed away this week from heart complications his family said. He was 81.
“We are devastated by the loss of our beloved, devoted husband and father,” Withers’ family wrote in a 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.”
An outpouring from fans friends and colleagues swamped social media for the man whose dulcit tones and simple tunes brought joy. He always had an upbeat spirit that came through even in songs of heartbreak. One of our favorites:
Billy Dee Williams, Thom Yorke, Nile Rodgers and Brian Wilson were among musician friends who paid tribute to Withers and the indellible notes he left behind for the music world.
Withers was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2015. At the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony when he was inducted in 2015, Withers was joined by Stevie Wonder and John Legend to perform “Lean On Me.”
During his speech, Withers said he was honored to be the youngest solo inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of fame, and kidded: “Don’t hate me because I’m precocious, besides, who else came here with a ‘Wonder’ and a ‘Legend.’ Watch here.
Bill Withers, Stevie Wonder and John Legend – Lean On Me: