Chance the Rapper, Lenny Kravitz, Brian Wilson and Kamala Harris were among the artists, actors politicians who took to social media to pay tribute to Bill Withers, the R&B singer and songwriter who passed away this week at the age of 81. The writer of such classics as “Lean on Me,” “Ain’t No Sunshine” and “Use Me,” Withers died Monday of heart failure, although news of his passing was not announced until Friday morning.
Chance the Rapper wrote: “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.”
Lenny Kravitz, who covered “Use Me” early in his career, 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.”
Legendary Beach Boys songwriter Brian Wilson wrote: “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. – Brian”
Actor-musician Harry Shearer wrote: “The silencing of a sublime voice. RIP Bill Withers. Aint no sunshine.”
Senator and former presidential candidate Kamala Harris wrote: “The world lost a legend. Soul singer Bill Withers’ song Grandma’s Hands is one of my favorites and reminds me of my grandmother and so many other mother-figures in my life. Let’s all continue to live by his cherished lyrics during these times and lean on each other.”
Chic cofounder and hit producer Nile Rodgers and country-pop singer Kacey Musgraves paid tribute as well, as did songwriter and ASCAP president Paul Williams.
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“We lost a giant of songwriting today. Bill Withers’ songs are among the most treasured and profound in the American songbook — universal in the way they touch people all over the world, transcending genre and generation. He was a beautiful man with a stunning sense of humor and a gift for truth. I will miss him personally as will the entire ASCAP family. We love you, Bill. Our hearts go out to the family.” ❤️ 🌟❤️🌟❤️🌟My @ascap statement about Bill’s passing is from the heart. I loved his songs … God, we never needed his comforting lyrics more than now … “Lean on me” is the perfect example of his healing spirit …. But his quick wit, authenticity and kindness were also world class. When he was inducted into the rock ‘n’ roll Hall of Fame he looked out at the massive, celebrity filled audience and said “This is the largest AA meeting in the Western Hemisphere!” He was so proud of his very talented daughter Kori. The last time I saw him we discussed his addiction to Lowe’s and the amount of time he was spending building things. He loved working with wood. Songwriting Royalty … he used his gift to honor Grandma’s Hands. Talk about heart! He touched mine and millions of others around the world. Bravo Bill. Bravo ❤️🙏🏻
See additional reactions and tributes below: