Bill Withers, the soul icon whose string of timeless hits include “Ain’t No Sunshine,” “Lean on Me,” and “Lovely Day,” has passed away of heart complications, according to the Associated Press. He was 81 years old.
When Withers was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2015, he explained his relatively small output like this: “I really don’t have the personality to do this all the time …I’m not that outgoing. I’m rather shy—I’d rather hide. I never danced. I hid behind the guitar. So it’s all life, you know, as long as you’re doing something.”
He released just three albums, but those albums would define an entire genre. His instantly recognizable voice catapulted him into a rare realm of celebrity — overcoming a difficult, impoverished childhood to create some of the most iconic entries in the American songbook.