August 11, 2008

Soul Icon Hayes, 65, Found Dead in His Home

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 and for what became known as urban-contemporary music and for romantic crooners such as Barry White - Hayes was rapping before there was rap.

His career hit then 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.

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