R&B singer Bobby Caldwell passes away in wife's arms

March 17, 2023

Fans of R&B were left heartbroken this week when the Associated Press reported that singer Bobby Caldwell had passed away at the age of 71.

Caldwell's widow, Mary Caldwell, told the news service that he died in her arms on Tuesday at their New Jersey home following a long illness.

Caldwell's hit song was covered by many artists

The Associated Press noted how Caldwell rose to prominence in the 1970s, scoring a major hit in 1978 with the single "What You Won’t Do for Love."

"What You Won’t Do for Love" went on to be covered by the vocal harmony group Boyz II Men along with solo artist Michael Bolton.

Fellow musicians shared fond memories of Caldwell

The song was also sampled by multiple hip-hop artists, including Tupac Shakur, Notorious B.I.G., Common, and Lil Nas.

News of Caldwell's death brought an outpouring of praise for the fallen artist on social media, including from others in the music industry.

Musician and record producer Questlove put up an Instagram post in which he said, "Thank you for your voice and gift."

"Caldwell was the closing chapter in a generation in which record execs wanted to hide faces on album covers so perhaps maybe their artist could have a chance," Questlove declared.

Fans spoke of singer's "gentle spirit"

Chance the Rapper spoke up as well, sharing a screenshot on his Instagram account of an direct message exchange he had in which Caldwell said he would "be honored" if Chance were to use a sample from one of his songs.

"You are such an inspiration to me and many others," Chance said in reply. The rapper went on to add in his post that he had "not felt broken like this at a stranger’s passing in so long."

Meanwhile, some fans shared stories of having met Caldwell in person, with one speaking fondly of "his gentle spirit."

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