Soul legend and former “South Park” star Isaac Hayes has died, Access Hollywood has confirmed.
Hayes was 65.
Shelby County Sheriff spokesperson, Steve Shular, confirmed to Access the department received a 911 call around 1 PM local time from Hayes’ home in the Eastern part of Shelby county, a few miles from Memphis.
Hayes’ wife Adjowa, her cousin and his toddler son, Nana Kwadjo, had last seen the star at noon, before making a trip to the grocery store.
When they returned an hour later, the cousin went to find Hayes to tell him they were back, and found his body on the floor by the treadmill, Shular told Access.
It was unclear if Hayes was working out when he collapsed or if he was about to start one, but the treadmill was running, the Shelby County Sheriff spokesperson said.
Hayes was unresponsive.
A deputy was dispatched and upon arrival began administering CPR on Hayes.
When paramedics arrived, they took over resuscitation efforts and transported Hayes to Baptist Memorial Hospital in Memphis, where Hayes was pronounced dead at 2:08 PM local time.
Hayes wife told Sheriff’s deputies that Hayes was being treated for “various” medical conditions.
A cause of death was not immediately available.
Hayes reportedly suffered a stroke in January of 2006, but told the Detroit News he was doing well earlier this year.
“I’m coming along good,” he said in February 2008.
But in June 2008, the Village Voice reported that Hayes needed a stagehand to help him on stage at Prospect Park’s Bandshell, for a concert. He reportedly performed most of the gig from a seated position, but stood for the final half-hour.
Click HERE to read what Hayes’ friends and colleagues had to say about his passing.
Hayes won an Oscar for writing the “Theme From Shaft,” in the early 1970s, but in recent years he had become known as the voice of “Chef,” from the popular television series “South Park.”
In 2006, after years of playing the famed cafeteria-working mentor of the “South Park” children, Hayes reportedly left the show after creators Trey Stone and Matt Parker made moves to devote an episode to Scientology, Hayes’ religion.
“There is a place in this world for satire, but there is a time when satire ends and intolerance and bigotry towards religious beliefs of others begins,” a release issued on behalf of the star at the time of Hayes’ departure from the show read.
In recent months, Hayes filmed a part in “Soul Men,” which is due out later this year, alongside Bernie Mac, who also passed away this weekend.
Access Hollywood has learned that Hayes played himself in “Soul Men,” a film about two soul legends who reunite for a one-off show, to celebrate their former bandmate who recently died, according to IMDB.com.
A source close to the project told Access Hollywood that Hayes was only in two scenes in the November-due movie.
Hayes was born in Covington, TN on August 20, 1942 and raised by his grandparents after his own parents passed away while he was still a toddler.
Hayes got his start as a musician by performing in the church.
In the early ‘60s, Hayes turned pro, playing sessions with Otis Redding and forming a relationship with legendary record label Stax. Eventually he joined the group Soul Children with David Porter and the two wrote songs including the classic “Soul Man.”
By the late ‘60s, Hayes had become a solo artist, recording albums including “Hot Buttered Soul.”
As the decade turned, Hayes scored “Shaft,” which won him Best Score Oscar. The moment marked the first time an African-American netted the statue in the category.
He released albums in five different decades, but the later years of his life were spent mostly on film and television.
In 1997, Hayes joined “South Park” as the “Chef,” and he recorded several songs under the “Chef” moniker including “Chocolate Salty Balls (P.S. I Love You),” which made it to the top of the singles chart in the U.K.
Hayes is survived by his wife, Adjowa and 12 children.
As news of Hayes’ death broke, friends and colleagues quickly reacted to the star’s death.
Former musical partner Dionne Warwick also released a statement to Access on Sunday, over Hayes.
“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.”
Reverend Al Sharpton also issued a statement.
“I am deeply saddened by the loss of Isaac Hayes, a true historic world music figure,” Reverend Al Sharpton said in a statement. “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.”
Tommy Davis, from the Church of Scientology, Intl., also commented on the passing of Hayes.
“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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