Legendary soul singer Teddy Pendergrass died Wednesday at the age of 59 after a long battle with colon cancer. Pendergrass was one of the most beloved R&B singers during the 1970s, before a tragic car accident in 1982 left him paralyzed and derailed his musical career.
The news of Teddy Pendergrass’ death was announced by his son, Teddy Pendergrass II, on Wednesday. The R&B icon’s son said his father had undergone colon cancer eight months ago and his recovery was ‘difficult’.
Teddy Pendergrass found wide success in the 1970s, garnering top hits such as “If You Don’t Know Me by Now” with Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes. He continued to push out popular songs such as “Love T.K.O.” into the early 80s.
In 1982, Teddy Pendergrass was paralyzed from the waist down after a car accident in Philadelphia. He returned to recording music a year later, his career never reached its former heights for the most part. He went on to found the Teddy Pendergrass Alliance in 1988 to help victims of spinal cord injuries and publish an autobiography, Truly Blessed, in 1998.
Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, who wrote and produced for Pendergrass, published a statement on their website saying they were “deeply saddened” by the singer’s death. “Teddy Pendergrass was one of the greatest artists that the music industry has ever known, and there hasn’t been another one since. We’ve lost our voice and we’ve lost our best friend, but we’re thankful for what we had. It was beautiful. he was one of the best.”
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