Entertainment

R&B legend Timmy Thomas, sampled in Drake’s hit single Hotline Bling, dies aged 77


R&B legend Timmy Thomas has died aged 77, his family have confirmed on Facebook.

He was best known for his 1973 track Why Can’t We Live Together – which was later picked up and sampled by Drake in sped-up form in his 2016 smash hit Hotline Bling.

No cause of death has yet been given, though his heartbroken family wrote on social media: “With appreciation and gratitude, the family extends a thank you for the prayers, support, precious words and other expressions of love and kindness during this time.”

His anti-war track became a Top 3 hit in the United States before being sampled by artists including Drake.

Speaking of the track being used in the 2016 hit, Thomas admitted: “I was very proud to listen to what he had done with it, even though he had changed the message that I had.”



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The star has died aged 77

The star sweetly added that he had to ask his children the meaning of the song, explaining: “And ‘hotline bling,’ I had no idea what that meant, by the way. I was excited that my kids had to say ‘Daddy, here’s what he’s saying.’ It’s like I had to get into a rap dictionary to find out some of the things he was saying,”

He was also known for songs like Gotta Give a Little Love (Ten Years After), (Dying Inside) To Hold You and People Are Changin’.

The star was born one of 12 siblings in Indiana in 1944, studying music throughout his early life before picking up sessions with Stax Records and Goldwax.



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Fans paid tribute online

He later worked as a teacher in Miami, and was inspired to write Why Can’t We Live Together while preparing for a class in which he heard a radio broadcast announcing tens of thousands of deaths in the Vietnam War.

And fans have been quick to pay tribute to the legend online, with one posting: “So sad to hear the news about Timmy Thomas especially at this time when his wonderful song is more meaningful than ever.”



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The star was sampled in Drake’s hit Hotline Bling

Another wrote alongside a snap of Timmy: “I first met Timmy Thomas back in the 70’s in London the year he had the hit ‘Why can’t we live together’ – a song that was so different to anything around at that time apart from the songs Marvin Gaye & Stevie Wonder were dropping.

“I have sent him birthday wishes nearly every year since this photo was taken in Berkeley Square all those years ago, a lovely man who will be missed. RIP.”

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