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Singer Teddy Pendergrass dies at 59

Legendary singer Teddy Pendergrass, known for his good looks and seductive baritone, died Wednesday at 59.

His son, Teddy Pendergrass II, confirmed to the Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper that the former lead singer of Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes passed away after a difficult recovery from colon cancer surgery eight months ago.

"To all his fans who loved his music, thank you," his son said. "He will live on through his music."
 


Pendergrass performing in New Orleans in 2002

A Philadelphia native, Pendergrass rose to fame in the 70s as lead singer of Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes (“Wake Up Everybody,” “If You Don’t Know Me by Now”), but is perhaps best known for his forceful yet sensual delivery in solo hits like “Turn Off the Lights,” “Close the Door” and “Love TKO.” In 1982, Pendergrass made headlines after a car crash in his Rolls-Royce left him with a spinal cord injury, paralyzing him from the chest down. He continued to record, often performing from his wheelchair – most notably at a Live Aid concert in 1985.

He started the Teddy Pendergrass Alliance in 1998 to benefit victims of spinal cord injuries.

Click here for more about the life and career of Teddy Pendergrass.

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