Teddy Pendergrass is dead of colon cancer. He died on January 13, 2010 at 59-years-old. Teddy Pendergrass is a Soul music legend that reached the height of his fame in the 1970s and 1980s. The Lord only knows how many children were conceived to the sound of his music. He will be greatly missed.
Teddy Pendergrass was THE sex symbol of the 1970s and 1980s. His passionate love ballads sung in a masculine, soulful voice were the stuff of legend and love. Then, he was paralyzed in a devastating car accident, making him an inspiration as well as a legend. And now he has died after a year long struggle with colon cancer on January 13, 2010 at the age of 59-years. His son, Teddy Pendergrass, II has confirmed that his father died in a suburban Philadelphia hospital. He endured surgery for colon cancer about eight months ago but has had a difficult time recovering from the surgery.
For those of you who are too young to remember, let me tell you that Pendergrass was a major music star in the 1970s. He was a sex-symbol and his music was the stuff of legend. A Teddy Pendergrass was the music that was called for when the mood was romantic. Then in 1982 he was in a car accident that resulted in him suffering a spinal cord injury. He was paralyzed from the waist down and in a wheelchair since then. He was hospitalized for about six months, but returned to music after he recovered from the accident. In 1983 he released a new album, ‘Love Language’. Her performed in the 1985 Live Aid concert from his wheelchair, much to the pleasure of his multitude of fans. After that, it was 19 years before he returned to performing. He returned on Memorial Day weekend 2001 with two sold-out concerts in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
As a Teddy Pendergrass biography, he was born on March 26, 1950 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was the son of Ida Geraldine Epps and Jesse Pendergrass who was murdered in 1962. His father left when he was very young and was not a part of his life. He attended Thomas Edison High School for Boys in Philadelphia but dropped out in the 11th grad to go into the music business. He was ordained as a minister when he was very young. His experience in his church music translated into a successful music career later in life.
Pendergrass first came to fame as part of the Soul group Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes. The group signed a record deal in 1971 with Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff. They released their first single, ‘I Miss You’ in 1972. They then released their Grammy Award nominated ‘If You Don’t Know Me By Now’. A song I personally have many fond memories of.
In 1975 he quit Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes to start a solo career. His greatest solo hits were ‘Love T.K.O’, ‘Close the Door’ and ‘I Don’t Love You Anymore’. And did I mention he was a sex symbol in the 1970s and 1980s? His music was powerful, masculine and reeked of virility. His lyrics were not coarse, but sensual and erotic without being explicit. All the more to make him a sexy star of the era.
He had five consecutive multi-platinum albums. He was the first black male singer to reach that level of success. The women absolutely loved him. His music was played in many seductive situations.
Later in his life, Pendergrass founded the Teddy Pendergrass Alliance. His organization had the stated mission of encouraging and helping people with spinal cord injuries to achieve their maximum potential in education, employment, housing, productivity and Independence.
He is survived his wife, mother, son, two daughters and nine grandchildren.
Teddy Pendergrass is dead of colon cancer. He was 59-years-old at the time of his death. Gone too soon. Still. He offered much to the world of music during his short life. I’m so sad at this news. RIP.
You can watch Teddy Pendergrass perform in the video below.