(CNN) Bobby Caldwell, the influential singer and songwriter behind R&B hits like “What You Won’t Do for Love” and “Open Your Eyes,” has died, according to a statement from his wife, Mary Caldwell.
He was 71 years old.
“Bobby passed away here at home. I held him tightly in my arms when we left. I am forever grieving. Thank you all for your many prayers over the years,” Mary Caldwell’s statement, subscriber On a verified Twitter account, it was partially read.
She said Caldwell had been dealing with health issues for some time.
Caldwell’s hit song “What You Won’t Do for Love” hit the Billboard 100 after its release in 1978. Artists including Tupac Shakur, Common, and John Legend have sampled his music.
Questlove, who collaborated with Common on “The Light,” which sampled Caldwell’s Open Your Eyes album, shared, Tribute to the late artist on Instagramdescribing how he has tried to work with him over the years.
“The man missed this opportunity to meet a legend,” Questloff wrote. Thank you for your voice and your gift,
Other Caldwell fans shared their memories on social media, with one musician writing, “Thank you for sharing Bobby with us and the rest of the world, which brought him so much joy and beauty. We will miss him and his memory will be a blessing.”
Caldwell was born in New York and raised in Miami and got his big break as the bassist for Little Richard.
He attributed the cultural diversity of his hometown, with influences of Haiti, reggae, Latin, pop, and R&B, with the ability to perform music across genres.
Caldwell said about the music in a 2005 interview with NPR.
In addition to his solo career, he has also written hit songs for other artists such as “The Next Time I Fall” for Amy Grant and Peter Cetera. His latest record, “Cool Uncle,” was released in 2015.
“Infuriatingly humble web fan. Writer. Alcohol geek. Passionate explorer. Evil problem solver. Incurable zombie expert.”
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