Monday, August 11, 2008

Isaac Hayes has died

The soul-music legend was 65 years old.

He died at his home in Memphis.

A releative discovered an unresponsive Hayes near an exercise machine in their home at midday, and Hayes was pronounced dead at 2:10 p.m. when he arrived at Baptist East Hospital in Memphis, the Shelby County Sheriff's Office tells PEOPLE.


Born in Covington, Tenn., Hayes was a self-taught musician. At age 22, he was hired by Stax Records of Memphis to play backup for piano and sax for Otis Redding and others. In the '60s, with David Porter, he wrote soul hits for Sam and Dave ("Hold On, I'm Coming" and "Soul Man"), the Associated Press reports.

This led to a recording contract, and by the early '70s he was working with chart-topper Barry White. Hayes struck gold with the "Theme from Shaft," by which time he had been a music star for two years – ever since the release of his 1969 album Hot Buttered Soul.

In terms of further distinctions, his Best Original Song Oscar for Shaft made him the first African-American songwriter to nab the coveted award. He was also elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002.

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