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Soul singer Bill Withers dies at 81

(UPSOUND) (English) SINGER, BILL WITHERS, IN 2009 SPEAKING ABOUT THE DOCUMENTARY "SOUL POWER:"

"There was no lasting exchange between Zaire and American musicians"

Soul singer Bill Withers, best known for his hit songs "Lean On Me" and "Lovely Day" has died, his family said on Friday.

A statement from his family read, "We are devastated by the loss of our beloved, devoted husband and father...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."

Withers produced nine albums, most of them written and recorded in the 1970s.

He won his first of three Grammys in 1971 for "Ain't No Sunshine" and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2015.

Musicians shared their tributes online...

Singer Lenny Kravitz wrote, "Rest in power Bill Withers. Your voice, songs, and total expression gave us love, hope, and strength."

Music producer Nile Rodgers simply wrote, "Class, class and more class."

Withers was 81 years old.

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