Soul legend ISAAC HAYES has died. He was 65.
Hayes passed away on Sunday (10Aug08) morning at a Memphis, Tennessee hospital. The cause of death has yet to be confirmed.
According to reports, the songwriter was rushed to Baptist East Hospital after an emergency call from Hayes’ wife, who found him lying near a treadmill in the couple’s home.
Police at The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office are investigating the star’s death, but do not believe foul play was a factor.
Born in 1942 in Covington, Tennessee, Hayes was raised by his maternal grandparents, who moved the family to Memphis when he was six.
Hayes’ early ambitions of becoming a doctor were redirected when he won a talent contest in ninth grade, singing Nat King Cole’s Looking Back.
A self-taught musician, he was hired in 1964 by Tennessee-based Stax Records as a backup pianist, working as a session musician for music greats including Otis Redding.
He soon paved his way to stardom with the release of his album Hot Buttered Soul in 1969.
The soul singer broke out with a number one hit with the 1971 Grammy
Award-winning Theme From Shaft from the iconic movie, starring actor Richard Roundtree.
Hayes’ chart-topping singles also include Hold On, I’m Coming and Soul Man.
In the early 1970s, Hayes continued to forge a path for disco and
urban-contemporary music, making way for legendary singers like Barry White.
In a 1999 interview reflecting on his career he said of his influence: “I knew nothing about the business, or trends and things like that. I think it was a matter of timing. I didn’t know what was unfolding.”
In addition to music, Hayes has appeared in several movies, including It Could Happen to You with Nicolas Cage, Ninth Street with Martin Sheen and Reindeer Games, starring Ben Affleck.
Hayes enjoyed success as a radio show host in New York City from 1996 to 2002, and later in Memphis.
His distinctive voice can also be heard as part of Nickelodeon’s “Nick at Nite” program and in scenes from his role as Chef during a stint on animated TV show South Park.
Hayes is survived by his wife Adjowa and their child, as well as five other children from two previous marriages.