NEW YORK CITY (CelebrityAccess) — Robert “Bobby” Caldwell, a singer, songwriter, and recording artist best known for the hit “What You Won’t Do for Love” has died. He was 71.
His wife, Mary Caldwell, announced the news of his passing via social media, writing: “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.”
She went on to claim that Caldwell suffered ill health effects after he was treated with a quinolone antibiotic.
“He had been “FLOXED,” it took his health over the last 6 years and 2 months. Rest with God, my Love,” Caldwell referencing a purported health condition popularized by alternative medical providers.
Born in New York and raised in Florida, Caldwell listened to big band music and crooners while he was growing up and began playing the piano and guitar while still a teen.
After working with several local bands, including the Miami-based Katmandu, Caldwell got his first major industry break when he secured a gig as Little Richards’ rhythm guitarist in the early 1970s.
After relocating to Los Angeles and trying to land a recording deal, he released his debut album, Bobby Caldwell in 1979, going double platinum in the U.S. and platinum in Japan on the strength of songs such as “What You Won’t Do for Love.”
Caldwell’s subsequent albums failed to gain much traction but were popular among hip hop artists such as J Dilla, who sampled “Open Your Eyes” for Common’s 2000 album “The Light” and the Notorious B.I.G. who sampled Caldwell’s “My Flame” for “Sky’s the Limit” in 1996.
Along with his work as a recording artist, Caldwell wrote and performed music for multiple film soundtracks, including the 1986 Rodney Dangerfield comedy “Back to School,” and the 1988 sci-fi bomb “Mac and Me.”
While his star faded in the U.S., Caldwell remained popular in Japan where he was known as “Mister AOR.”
He released his final studio album, “Cool Uncle” in 2015.