Singer and songwriter Bobby Caldwell has died, according to his wife, Mary Caldwell. He was 71.
A representative for Caldwell confirmed to TMZ that he died in his sleep Tuesday night at his home in New Jersey. In a statement posted Wednesday on social media, Mary Caldwell said he had been dealing with health issues in recent years.
“I held him tight in my arms as he left us,” she wrote. “I am forever heartbroken. Thanks to all of you for your many prayers over the years.”
Caldwell was born in Manhattan in 1951 and raised in Miami. He grew up listening to show tunes, Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Tony Bennett and The Beatles, all of which were early influences in his singing and songwriting, according to his website.
In 1978, Caldwell released his signature hit, “What You Won’t Do For Love.” The song has since been covered or sampled by a variety of artists, including Tupac Shakur, Boyz II Men and Michael Bolton.
In 2005, Caldwell told NPR that he wrote the song at the spur of the moment after the person who ran his record label, Henry Stone, said he liked the sound of his self-named debut album but didn’t hear a hit.
“So, quick, in a hurry, in the last minutes, we went in and cut this groove and I, quick, penned some lyrics to it, and, you know, that just goes to show you that sometimes the things that you disregard are the things that come up and rear their head, you know?” he said.
Caldwell also wrote hits for other artists, including the 1986 duet “Next Time I Fall” from Amy Grant and Peter Cetera, CNN reported.
Caldwell is survived by his wife and daughters.
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