Donny Hathaway: Age 33 | Cause Of Death: SUICIDE
(b. 1 October 1945, Chicago, Illinois, USA, d. 13 January 1979).
Originally schooled in the gospel tradition, this versatile artist majored in musical theory before performing in a cocktail jazz trio. Hathaway was then employed as a producer with Curtis Mayfield’s Curtom label while a duet with June Conquest, I Thank You Baby, became his first hit, in 1969. The following year he was signed by Atlantic for whom he recorded several imaginative singles, including The Ghetto (1970) and Love Love Love (1973). His crafted compositions were recorded by such acts as Aretha Franklin and Jerry Butler, but Hathaway is best remembered for his cool duets with Roberta Flack. Their complementary voices were honed to perfection on Where Is The Love (1972) and The Closer I Get To You (1978), both of which reached the US Top 5. Why this gifted musician should take his own life remains unexplained, but on 13 January 1979, Hathaway threw himself from the 15th floor of New York’s Essex House hotel.