Bobby Caldwell, the singer best known for the hit ‘What You Won’t Do For Love’, has died at the age of 71.
The news was confirmed by his wife, Mary, who said that the singer had died peacefully. “Bobby passed away here at home. I held him tight in my arms as he left us,” she wrote on Twitter. “I am forever heartbroken. Thanks to all of you for your many prayers over the years. He had been “FLOXED,” it took his health over the last 6 years and 2 months. Rest with God, my Love.”
The term ‘floxing’ refers to an adverse reaction to quinolone antibiotics, which are used to treat certain bacterial infections. It was reported last year that Caldwell’s adverse reaction to the antibiotic in 2017 had led to him rupturing his Achilles tendon and sustaining nerve damage.
Caldwell was born in Manhatten and brought up in Florida, where he grew up listening to R&B and soul. He was Little Richard’s rhythm guitarist for a number of years in the early 1970s before starting to record his self-titled debut album in 1978.
His best known song, ‘What You Won’t Do For Love’, was written within 48 hours after his record label felt his album lacked a single. It became a huge success, particularly among Black American listeners, going on to become a staple of R&B radio.
Bobby passed away here at home. I held him tight in my arms as he left us. I am forever heartbroken. Thanks to all of you for your many prayers over the years. He had been "FLOXED," it took his health over the last 6 years and 2 months. Rest with God, my Love. -Mary Caldwell
— Bobby Caldwell (@bobbycaldwell) March 15, 2023
In his later years, Caldwell became known for his interactions with fans on Twitter who couldn’t believe he was white rather than Black. In fact, his record label, TK Records, had mad a deliberate effort to hide his race, using a photograph of his silhouette on his first album cover to make his music more marketable to a largely Black audience.
Caldwell’s final album, ‘Cool Uncle’, was released in 2015. Many of songs had been sampled by hip-hop artists, most notably Tupac on his posthumous 1998 single ‘Do For Love’.