R&B Legend Teddy Pendergrass died at 59

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R&B Legend Teddy Pendergrass died Wednesday evening, his publicist said. He was 59.

Pendergrass, known for smash love ballads such as “Turn Off the Lights” and “Love TKO,” died after after a long illness, according to Lisa Barbaris, who described herself as a close friend and his last publicist.

“His beloved family surrounded him. The world has lost one of it’s greatest voices and performers,” a statement from Barbaris said.

Pendergrass, who was paralyzed from the waist down in a car accident in 1982, underwent surgery for colon cancer eight months ago and had a “difficult recovery,” according to his son, Teddy Jr.

A Philly native, Pendergrass came to fame in the early 1970s as lead singer of the Blue Notes, responsible for hits such as “If You Don’t Know Me By Now” and “Wake Up Everybody.”

He released his self-titled debut in 1977 and enjoyed a successful solo career, siring velvety singles like “Close the Door” and “Turn Off the Light.”

Pendergrass spent six months in the hospital after his 1982 crash, but perservered in the studio, going on to duet with Whitney Houston on “Hold On,” from her 1985 debut effort, appearing at Live Aid that year, and releasing a slew of new albums into the ’00s.

He founded the Teddy Pendergrass Alliance to aid in the education, employment and overall life-style enhancement of people with spinal cord injuries.