Teddy Pendergrass (March 26, 1950 – January 13, 2010)
Theodore DeReese Pendergrass was an American singer, born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he initially rose to musical fame as the lead singer of Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes. After leaving the group over monetary disputes in 1976, Pendergrass launched a successful solo career under the Philadelphia International label, releasing five consecutive platinum albums, then a record for an African-American R&B artist. Pendergrass’s career was suspended in March 1982. In the East Falls section of Philadelphia, Pendergrass was involved in a car crash. He lost control of his Rolls Royce Silver Spirit by hitting a guard rail and hitting two trees. His passenger was Tenika Watson, a nightclub performer. Watson walked away with minor injuries but Pendergrass was left paralyzed from the chest down. Pendergrass continued his successful solo career until announcing his retirement in 2007. Pendergrass married twice — to dancer Karen Still from June 1987 to 2002 and to Joan Williams from 2006 until his death in 2010. He had three children. In June 2009 he underwent surgery for colon cancer. Though the surgery was a success, he returned to the hospital a few weeks later with respiratory issues. After suffering for seven months, Pendergrass died from respiratory failure in January 2010 at age 59.