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Bill Withers remembered as a ‘songwriter’s songwriter’ after death at 81

The musician was known for classics such as Lean On Me, Lovely Day and Ain’t No Sunshine.

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Bill Withers has died from heart complications (Ian West/PA)

Bill Withers has died from heart complications (Ian West/PA)

Bill Withers has died from heart complications (Ian West/PA)

Bill Withers has been remembered as a “songwriter’s songwriter” after his death at the age of 81.

The US soul star, best known for hits such as Lean On Me, Lovely Day and Ain’t No Sunshine, died from heart complications on Monday.

Beach Boys star Brian Wilson wrote on Twitter: “I’m very sad to hear about Bill Withers passing.

“Bill was a ‘songwriter’s songwriter’ and wrote so many great songs like Ain’t No Sunshine and Lean On Me. A real loss. Love & Mercy to Bill’s family.”

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

“My soul always has & always will be full of your music. Your humility displayed & depth of your power as you carried us all to a better place. You’re still & always will be Bill.”

Chance The Rapper paid tribute saying: “Aw man, Bill Withers was really the greatest.

“Grandma’s Hands, Ain’t No Sunshine, Lean on Me, Use Me Up, Just The Two Of Us and obviously Lovely Day are some of the best songs of all time.

“My heart really hurts for him, it reminds me of playing records with at my grandma’s house.”

Acclaimed songwriter Diane Warren also praised his body of work, writing: “Ain’t No Sunshine, Lean On Me, Lovely Day, Grandmas Hands. Are there better songs than this?? Thank U for writing them Bill Withers.”

Actress Rosario Dawson said Withers is “beloved” and added: “I will forever lean on your music in times of need.

“So grateful the world got to share in the poetry & music you created in this lifetime. Thank you always. You’ve truly been a blessing.

“Rest In Paradise. Rest In Power. Please sing to my grandma…”

Withers won the special international award at the Ivor Novellos in London in 2017 and Crispin Hunt, chairman of the Ivors Academy, told the PA news agency: “We are extremely sad to hear that Bill Withers, one of the most influential songwriters on the planet, has died aged 81.

“Bill was a towering talent and incredibly lovely human being. He lit up the room at The Ivors in 2017 when presented with the PRS Special International Award saying, ‘Ultimately, songwriters are simply dealing with feeling. And right now I’m humbled and dealing with the feeling you’ve given me by so graciously acknowledging my body of work over the years.’”

Withers’ death comes as the public has embraced his 1972 soul classic Lean On Me during the coronavirus pandemic and healthcare workers, choirs and artists have been sharing their own renditions of the song.

PA