R&B singer Teddy Pendergrass, affectionately known as “Teddy Bear” to his many fans, died in a Philadelphia hospital Wednesday evening after battling a longtime illness.


The details of his illness were not released by his family, but according to his publicist and close friend, his illness was likely related to the 1982 car accident that left him paralyzed.


Known for his romantic ballads, including “Close the Door,” “Love T.K.O.” and “Turn Off the Lights,” Pendergrass started his career singing with a group called the Cadillacs in the 1960s that later merged with Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes.


After going solo, during the span of his career, the baritone singer received many accolades including several Grammy nominations, a Billboard’s 1977 Pop Album New Artist Award and an American Music Award for Best R&B Performer in 1978.


Teddy Pendergrass was 59.






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