Legendary “Lean on Me” Singer, Bill Withers, Dies at 81

(Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images)

Bill Withers, the legendary singer who not only sang, but also wrote and a slew of songs in the 1970s that we still hear now, either as the original hits or as samples for some of today’s greatest hip-hop songs. like “Lean on Me,” “Lovely Day”, “Just the Two of Us” and “Ain’t No Sunshine,” has died this week from heart complications, his family said in a statement to The Associated Press. He was 81.

“Ain’t No Sunshine” gave Withers his first gold record, earned him a Grammy, and, with later hits such as “Lean on Me” and “Use Me,” forms the a strong catalog of memorable hits that stand the test of time.

Withers death comes as the public, me personally, has used his music in recent days as a form of inspiration. His song “Lovely Day” in particular speaks to the affirmation we need each day during this pandemic.

Actually, the bravery of Withers to admit that he needed help with others is what allowed him to write “Lean on Me,” maybe the best-known song to friendship and family, released in 1972. The lyrics speak to how we as a people need each other, even more so right now.

If you remember, some of the lyrics go like this:

“Sometimes in our lives we all have pain
We all have sorrow
But if we are wise
We know that there’s always tomorrow
Lean on me, when you’re not strong
And I’ll be your friend
I’ll help you carry on
For it won’t be long
‘Til I’m gonna need
Somebody to lean on…”

“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,” the family statement read. “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.”

Celebrities from all over the world have been chiming in on social media to pay their respects.

“Rest in power Bill Withers,” writes Lenny Kravitz on Twitter. “Your voice, songs, and…