R&B Legend Teddy Pendergrass passed at the age of 59 in Philadelphia yesterday from colon cancer. His son stated that he had battled the disease for the past 8 months. For the past 28 years, Teddy Pendergrass has been wheelchair bound because of a fatal car accident in 1982.
Before the crash, Pendergrass established a new era of R&B with an explosive, raw voice that symbolized masculinity, passion and the joys and sorrow of romance in songs such as “Close the Door,” “It Don’t Hurt Now,” “Love T.K.O.” and other hits that have since become classics.
He was an international superstar and sex symbol. His career was at its apex – and still climbing.
Friend and longtime collaborator Kenny Gamble, of the renowned production duo Gamble & Huff, teamed with Pendergrass on his biggest hits and recalled how the singer was even working on a movie.
“He had about 10 platinum albums in a row, so he was a very, very successful recording artist and as a performing artist,” Gamble said Thursday. “He had a tremendous career ahead of him, and the accident sort of got in the way of many of those plans.”
Pendergrass, who was born in Philadelphia in 1950, suffered a spinal cord injury in a 1982 car accident that left him paralyzed from the waist down – still able to sing but without his signature power. The image of the strong, virile lover was replaced with one that drew sympathy.
But instead of becoming bitter or depressed, Pendergrass created a new identity – that as a role model, Gamble said.
“He never showed me that he was angry at all about his accident,” Gamble said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. “In fact, he was very courageous.”
R.I.P. to a Legend: Teddy Pendergrass
The Pendergrass Family will be in our thoughts and prayers…