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"He was humble, proud, self-confident, kind and sharing, He was incredibly talented and shared his talent unselfishly. He was a King. Long live the King."
——Manager Ned Shankman
BARRY WHITE PASSES AWAY
R&B Legend Succumbs After Lengthy Illness; Leaves Indelible Musical Mark
Barry White, the deep-voiced R&B trendsetter who scored myriad hits as a writer, artist, producer and arranger—and whose richly orchestrated soul music became the very soundtrack of love for millions—passed away at Cedars Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles on Friday (7/4) of kidney failure after a lengthy hospital stay. He was 58.

A statement from Ned Shankman, White's manager for 30 years, acknowledges that the music legend had been hospitalized since September. "For months we let the press from around the world 'spin the stories' from their unique point of view," Shankman declared. "Barry's kidneys had failed and he was on dialysis but in good spirits. In Barry's case, the kidney failure resulted from hypertension."

White is survived by his eight children, including the four-week-old Barriana, and several grandchildren. He had reportedly begun work on a duets album for Def Soul prior to his hospitalization.

He began his music career behind the scenes, as an A&R man and independent producer. Eventually, inspired by the Motown formula, he began developing and producing material for Love Unlimited, an all-female group featuring his then wife, Glodean.

After the group achieved some success, White decided to step out as an artist, scoring an immediate hit with "I'm Gonna Love You Just a Little More, Baby."

More grooving, romantic epics followed, including such grandly intimate R&B perennials as "Never, Never Gonna Give You Up," "You're the First, the Last, My Everything," "It's Ecstasy When You Lay Down Next to Me" and the #1 anthem "Can't Get Enough of Your Love, Babe."

Though White's contribution to the music of the boudoir is widely acknowledged, his ambition as a composer and arranger is equally worthy of celebration. His use of strings (often arranged in tandem with Gene Page), which reached an apotheosis with his Love Unlimited Orchestra recordings, lent dance music an emotional grandeur that has been copied slavishly ever since.

For more info about White's prodigious career achievements, click here.

Eventually, Barry White reached the status of cultural icon, lending his velvety basso profundo pipes to everything from The Simpsons to TV ads. What's more, the role of his songs in getting people "in the mood" became a staple of pop-cultural humor. As Esquire quipped when basketball great Wilt Chamberlain's thousands of sexual conquests were first publicly discussed, "Let's see, that comes to 2,168 cases of Riunite, 381 crates of Trojan Magnums and one very well-worn Barry White album."

He continued making records throughout the '90s, by which time the influence of his work was everywhere on the R&B charts. According to one source, he sold some 100 million records worldwide over the course of his career.

What's more, notes Shankman, "He was humble, proud, self-confident, kind and sharing, He was incredibly talented and shared his talent unselfishly. He was a King. Long live the King."

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