R&B singer and songwriter Andre Williams passed away Sunday following his battle with colon cancer, according to the Associated Press (AP). He was 82 years old.
News of Williams’ death was confirmed on social media by his Pravda Record label. “It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of legendary artist Andre Williams. He died this afternoon in Chicago at the age of 82. He touched our lives and the lives of countless others. We love you Dre.”
His manager and musical director, Kenn Goodman, told the Associated Press the singer-songwriter received care in a Chicago-area hospice after his cancer diagnosis. “There wasn’t anything he wouldn’t tackle and be 100 percent into — endlessly in the studio, endlessly on the road, endlessly performing,” Goodman said.
According to Billboard, Williams began his career as a teen and moved from Alabama to Detroit in the 1950s. He signed a deal with Fortune Records and later with Motown Records, where he served as songwriter and producer.
Williams co-wrote the Five Du-Tones’ “Shake a Tail Feather,” and his 1956 single “Bacon Fat” earned the no. 9 spot on the Billboard R&B chart. He also landed a writing credit on Stevie Wonder’s first song, “Thank You for Loving Me.”
Goodman touched on Williams’ “massive” musical contributions. “There wasn’t anything he wouldn’t tackle and be 100 percent into — endlessly in the studio, endlessly on the road, endlessly performing,” he said.
Williams had his fair share of struggles, though. Goodman revealed that he was a recovering alcoholic who experienced a series of strokes that limited his touring schedule after 2013.
But despite Williams’ personal setbacks, he was a devoted performer. “He was a survivor, he was a hustler. He knew how to get onstage every night, no matter what condition he was in every day. He was magic,” Goodman said.
According to Goodman, a documentary following the later years of Williams’ life is reportedly in the works.
A tribute concert in honor of the late singer is planned for next month in Chicago.
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Jasmine Washington is a beauty-obsessed journalist by day and a trap music connoisseur by night. A lifelong New Yorker, she got her start as an intern at the now-defunct Juicy Magazine. Jasmine joined the EBONY.com team as a writer, penning daily stories on all things Black culture and entertainment.