UPDATED: Dionne Warwick, Aretha Franklin, Rev. Al Sharpton & More React To Death Of Isaac Hayes
Musician and actor Isaac Hayes died on Sunday at the age of 65.
The loss of the musical pioneer was felt far and wide by Hayes’ friends and colleagues including Dionne Warwick and Gloria Gaynor, who quickly released statements over his death.
Read more about what happened and Hayes’ life by clicking HERE.
Warwick, who recorded the album, “A Man And A Woman,” with Hayes in the 1970s said she would miss Hayes’ friendship and his unique musical voice.
“I’ve lost one of my best buddies and it is not easy to reckon with,” she wrote. “I know one can never put a question mark where GOD puts a period, so I will not question the Almighty’s decision to call him home. We all know when that call comes we all will answer… Personally, my buddy will be missed for many reasons by me. He was ‘family.’ He will be a part of my musical life each time I sing the song ‘Deja Vu’ as this was a birthday gift to me from him. His renditions of songs that I had recorded especially ‘Walk On By,’ in my opinion, ‘the definitive version’ will always be another memory each time I sing it, and the humorous side that he showed few (that I knew so well). My family and I send sincere heart felt condolences to his family for their enormous loss, and we will hold them in continuous prayer.”
“I Will Survive” singer Gloria Gaynor also released a statement over Hayes’ death and that of Bernie Mac, who also passed away over the weekend.
“I am shocked and deeply grieved at the news of the passing of comedian/actor Bernie Mac and singer/actor/songwriter/producer, Isaac Hayes. I never had the pleasure of meeting Bernie Mac in person, but I certainly enjoyed, along with millions of others, many of his performances in movies and in television. He was a greatly talented artist and I, for one, will truly miss him from the entertainment scene,” her statement read. “I did know Isaac Hayes personally and in 1985, had the pleasure of recording one of Barry White’s songs (‘You’re The First, The Last, My Everything’) with him for my CD. He was a gentleman and an extremely warm and talented artist whom I respected and admired. I will miss him and his contribution to the entertainment world and to human kind. I send my condolences to the families, friends, and fans of both of these icons of the entertainment family.”
Malcolm Lee, who directed Hayes, alongside Mac in “Soul Men,” a November-due feature film starring the two men, released a statement on Sunday night.
“Isaac Hayes was a musical genius whose music has and continues to inspire me as a person and a storyteller. A warm spirit and an egoless talent, Isaac was as tireless on the film set as he was in the studio,” Lee’s statement read. “Working with Isaac has been one of the highlights of my career. The world has lost a true music legend whose influence on all of us is immeasurable. I will miss him and am grateful that I was blessed to have been in the presence of greatness this past year.”
Neil Portnow, President of The Recording Academy also mourned the loss of Hayes.
“Three-time Grammy winner Isaac Hayes was a true renaissance man — singer, songwriter, producer, session musician, actor, activist and more. After laying the groundwork for the Memphis soul sound through his work with Stax Records, his groundbreaking theme song and score for the movie ‘Shaft’ cemented his status as a musical icon,” Portnow’s statement read. “He was actively involved with our Memphis Chapter, sharing his creativity with established professionals and up-and-coming musicians alike. The world has lost a true creative genius and a passionate humanitarian, but his indelible legacy will remain ever present. Our deepest sympathies go out to his family, friends and all who were inspired by the man and his music.”
Reverend Al Sharpton also issued a statement.
“I am deeply saddened by the loss of Isaac Hayes, a true historic world music figure,” Sharpton’s statement read. “Isaac Hayes was the first African-American to win an Oscar for a music score but never lost sight of his commitment to his community and the betterment of mankind. He was more than an artist, he was a trailblazer. He was an innovator. He was a creative genius. I shall never forget how in the height of his career he still had time to work and lend his celebrity to those of us much younger and at that time who were totally unknown. Even in his later years he never hesitated to appear for a cause or endorse something that he felt was for the good of mankind. He will be sorely missed.”
Lisa Marie Presley also released a statement over Hayes’ death.
“Isaac was one of the more genuine and beautiful souls I have had the privilege to cross paths with and befriend in this life,” her statement read. “He was an incredible friend. This is a tragic loss. My heart goes out to his wife and children. Wherever he is going to just became a brighter and more beautiful place, and I will miss him dearly.”
Soul legend, Aretha Franklin, also released a statement on the death of the star.
“It was so sad to hear about Isaac Hayes. [He was] so musically advanced and timeless in his compositions. He was loved and appreciated by so many. He was an enduring symbol of the struggle of the African-American man and was a shining example of soul at its best. God bless,” Franklin’s statement read.
Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Sam Moore, who Hayes penned songs for, also expressed his sadness at the loss of his friend.
“I owe so much of my fame and success to Isaac Hayes as it was Isaac who wrote, produced and actually invented what is known as the ‘Memphis Sound.’ His nickname for me was ‘Blessed’ and I truly know I was blessed to have had his presence in my life and career when I was the lead voice of Sam & Dave,” Moore wrote. “Fortunately for us all, Isaac’s talent will continue to be recognized and live on as a result of his enormous musical contribution.”
On Monday, Jim Henke, Vice President of Exhibitions and Curatorial Affairs and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, also issued a statement.
“Isaac Hayes was a multi-talented artist whose body of work had a tremendous influence on the music of the last 40 years. In the 1960s and early 1970s, he was a songwriter, producer, pianist and vocalist for Stax Records, and he played a crucial role in the development of Memphis soul music. Among his many accomplishments, he helped write such classic hits as ‘Soul Man,’ ‘Hold On, I’m Coming’ and ‘B-A-B-Y.’” Henke’s statement read. “His solo career included such classics as ‘Hot Buttered Soul’ and the soundtrack to the movie ‘Shaft’. His work as a solo artist laid the groundwork for disco and, eventually, rap and hip-hop. Later, he embarked on a successful acting career. He was a truly talented artist and he will be sorely missed.”
Tommy Davis, from the Church of Scientology, Intl., the church Hayes was a part of, also commented on the passing of the star.
“He was an incredibly generous man, had an enormous love for his fellow men, was a remarkable humanitarian and he will be greatly missed,” Davis’ statement read.
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