R&B vocalist/songwriter Gene McFadden, best known as half of the Philly soul duo McFadden & Whitehead, died Friday (Jan. 27) of cancer at his home in Philadelphia. He was 56.

R&B vocalist/songwriter Gene McFadden, best known as half of the Philly soul duo McFadden & Whitehead, died Friday (Jan. 27) of cancer at his home in Philadelphia. He was 56.

As teenagers, McFadden and John Whitehead, who was fatally shot in May 2004, formed the Epsilons. Discovered by Otis Redding, the pair went on to become a successful songwriting and performing duo at seminal soul music label Philadelphia International Records.

The best known of their songs, "Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now," reached No. 1 on Billboard's R&B chart and No. 13 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was nominated for a Grammy award. The duo also wrote several hits performed by others, including the O'Jays' "Back Stabbers" and Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes' "Wake Up Everybody."

"Their talent was indispensable and their music capabilities were uniquely flexible," said Philadelphia International founders Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff in a statement. "Not only could they write sensational singles but they could write amazing album songs, too. As artists and producers we admired them in the studio. As songwriters, we appreciated them for sharing our commitment to creating lyrics of motivation and strength for people around the globe to enjoy."

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