Bill Withers, who wrote and sang such soulful songs as “Lean On Me,” “Lovely Day” and “Ain’t No Sunshine,” has died from heart complications, according to his family. He was 81.

A three-time Grammy Award winner, Withers died Monday in Los Angeles.

“We are devastated by the loss of our beloved, devoted husband and father. A solitary man with a heart driven to connect to the world at large, with his poetry and music, he spoke honestly to people and connected them to each other,” according to the family statement. “As private a life as he lived close to intimate family and friends, his music forever belongs to the world. In this difficult time, we pray his music offers comfort and entertainment as fans hold tight to loved ones.”

Withers’ songs became the soundtracks of countless engagements.

“Lean On Me,” a paean to friendship, was performed at the inaugurations of both Barack Obama and Bill Clinton. “Ain’t No Sunshine” and “Lean on Me” are among Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

Withers, who was the last of six children, was born in the coal mining town of Slab Fork, West Virginia. After his parents divorced when he was 3, Withers was raised by his mother’s family in nearby Beckley.

He joined the Navy at 17 and spent nine years in the service as an aircraft mechanic installing toilets. After his discharge, he moved to Los Angeles, worked at an aircraft parts factory, bought a guitar at a pawn shop and recorded demos of his tunes in hopes of landing a recording contract.

In 1971, he signed with Sussex Records and put out his first album, “Just As I Am,” with the legendary Booker T. Jones at the helm. It had the hits “Grandma’s Hands” and “Ain’t No Sunshine,” inspired by the Jack Lemmon film “Days of Wine and Roses.” The song climbed to No. 3 on the Billboard charts and spent a total of 16 weeks in the top 40.

Musician Lenny Kravitz was among those expressing condolences Friday.

“Rest in power Bill Withers,” Kravitz wrote on Twitter. “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 & depty of your power as you carried us all to a better place. You’re still & always will be Bill.”

Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys added, “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.”

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