The great R&B singer-songwriter Bill Withers has died at age 81. Literally, ain’t no sunshine when he’s gone.
Withers’ long list of classic hits includes “Lean on Me,” “Ain’t No Sunshine,” “Grandma’s Hands,” “Use Me,” “Just the Two of Us,” “Lovely Day.”
Bill’s family issued a statement. He is survived by his wife Marcia Johnson and their two children, Todd and Kori. The family statement reads:
“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. 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, who was very much a loner in the music world, was married twice. His first wife was the gorgeous Denise Nicholas, of “Room 222” fame. They had a tempestuous one year marriage when each was at the top of their fame.
Bill won 4 Grammy Awards. His last one, in 1987, was 15 years after “Lean on Me” came out. But Club Nouveau had covered the classic, and it won Best R&B song.