August 13, 2008

Singer Isaac Hayes Found Dead


ISAAC Hayes, the pioneering singer, songwriter and musician whose Theme From Shaft won Academy and Grammy awards, has been found dead at his home. He was 65.

The Shelby County Sheriff's Office said a family member found Hayes collapsed near a treadmill yesterday. He was pronounced dead about an hour later at Baptist East Hospital in Memphis.

The cause of death was not immediately known.

In the early 1970s, Hayes laid the groundwork for disco, for what became known as urban contemporary music and for romantic crooners like Barry White.

And he was rapping before there was rap.

His career hit another high in 1997 when he became the voice of Chef, the sensible school cook and devoted ladies man on the animated TV show South Park.

The album Hot Buttered Soul made Hayes a star in 1969. His shaven head, gold chains and sunglasses gave him a compelling visual image.

Next came Theme From Shaft, a No. 1 hit in 1971 from the film Shaft, starring Richard Round tree.

"That was like the shot heard round the world," Hayes said in the 1999 interview.

At the Oscar ceremony in 1972, Hayes performed the song wearing an eye-popping amount of gold and received a standing ovation. TV Guide later chose it as No 18 in its list of television's 25 most memorable moments.

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