Bobby Caldwell, a singer and songwriter who climbed the charts with his 1970s single “What You Won’t Do For Love,” has died following a long illness.
Caldwell passed away on Tuesday, March 14, at his home in New Jersey. His wife Mary Caldwell said in a statement on Bobby’s verified Twitter account that she was by his side when he died.
“I held him tight in my arms as he left us. I am forever heartbroken,” Mary shared. “Thanks to all of you for your many prayers over the years.”
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TMZ reported Caldwell hadn’t been able to walk for about 5 years.
In the late 2010s the singer took a break from music after becoming “floxed,” suffering a bad reaction to a prescribed antibiotic. Neuropathy, nerve damage that causes pain, numbness, tingling or swelling, set in and the condition eventually led to his death.
“He had been ‘Floxed,’ it took his health over the last 6 years and 2 months,” Mary said in her statement.
Bobby Caldwell was born in New York City in 1951, and grew up in Miami. The blue-eyed soul singer released several R&B, soul and jazz albums.
His 1978 single “What You Won’t Do For Love” was on Caldwell’s debut album. The song reached the top 10 and was his biggest hit.
Entertainment publicist Danny Deraney shared on Twitter that Caldwell’s record company “avoided putting his face on the album, so they could hide his racial identity.” But once it was revealed that he was white, the song grew in popularity.
The classic soul single has been covered and sampled by numerous artists, including Phyllis Hyman, Michael Bolton, and Tupac Shakur in his single “Do For Love.”