Kevin Winter, Getty Images T.I. and Lil Wayne are teaming up once again, only this…
- Posted on Dec 12th 2008 5:00PM by James Sullivan
But he was also terribly afflicted. The first song of the debut album, 'Voices Inside,' hinted at the trouble: Hathaway suffered from severe depression and paranoid schizophrenia. After the huge success of his 1972 duets album with fellow Howard University alum Roberta Flack, which produced the Top Five hit 'Where Is the Love,' the singer and composer was in great demand, agreeing to soundtrack work and recording the theme to 'Maude.' But heavy medication wasn't always enough to keep him out of the hospital, and his health problems forced him to curtail his career.
Hathaway seemed poised for a comeback when a reunion with Flack resulted in another big hit, 'The Closer I Get to You,' in 1978. The two singers were working on a second duets album when, in January 1979, Hathaway's body was found on a second-floor balcony below his 15th-floor hotel room in New York City. The glass had been carefully removed from the window of his room, and there was no sign of foul play. Investigators ruled his death a suicide. He was 33.
In death, Hathaway's influence has carried well beyond his own abbreviated career. Nas, Common, Jay-Z, Amy Winehouse and Fall Out Boy are just a few of the many artists who have paid tribute to him with samples, lyrics and dedications. Hathaway's daughter Lalah has her own recording career. Another daughter, Kenya, sings with the 'American Idol' band, and several 'Idol' finalists have expressed their admiration for the singer. With his legacy already nearly as long as his life, perhaps it was fitting that he named the last of his three studio albums 'Extension of a Man.'