The vocalist of “What You Won’t Do for Love,” Bobby Caldwell, died at 71.

bobby caldwell

Bobby Caldwell, a soulful R&B singer and composer who had a massive hit with “What You Won’t Do for Love” in 1978 and a voice and musical style adored by decades of his peers, died Wednesday, his wife announced.

According to Mary Caldwell, he died in her arms on Tuesday at his home in Great Meadows, New Jersey, following a long illness. He was 71.

READ ALSO: Young M.A. reveals recent hospitalization following troubling video appearance

The smooth soul jam “What You Won’t Do for Love” reached No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 6 on what was then known as the Hot Selling Soul Singles chart. For Caldwell, who also authored the song, it became an enduring classic and a career-defining success.

Boyz II Men and Michael Bolton both covered the song, and Tupac Shakur sampled it for his posthumously released song “Do For Love.”

Hip-hop musicians like The Notorious B.I.G., Common, Lil Nas X, and Chance the Rapper sampled additional Caldwell tracks.

There are numerous accounts of listeners being shocked to hear that Caldwell was white and not black, many of which were shared on social media after his passing.

On his debut solo album of the same name, which contains “What You Won’t Do for Love,” Caldwell only made a silhouette appearance.

READ ALSO: Ice Cube criticizes Billboards list of the Greatest Rappers.

Questlove wrote on Instagram, “Caldwell was the last chapter of a generation where record executives sought to hide faces on album covers so maybe their musician could have a chance.

Bobby Caldwell, thank you for your voice and gift, Questlove tweeted.

Chance the Rapper posted a screenshot of a direct message conversation he had with Caldwell last year when he requested permission to utilize one of his songs.

“I’ll be honored if you sample my song,” Caldwell wrote.

Caldwell was the son of singers who hosted a musical variety TV show called “Suppertime.” He was born in New York and raised in Florida.

He is a multi-instrumentalist who started playing professionally when he was 17 years old. In the early 1970s, he received his big break playing guitar with Little Richard’s band. Before signing a solo record deal, Caldwell played in a number of Los Angeles bar bands in the middle of the 1970s.