How Artists Can 'Keep the Legacy' of Bill Withers Alive, According to Stevie Wonder

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Stevie Wonder and Bill Withers perform onstage during the 30th annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony at Public Hall on April 18, 2015, in Cleveland, Ohio.

"Every artist at some point should record one of his songs on their projects," the legendary singer/songwriter tells Billboard after Withers' death at age 81.

“Obviously, it’s another heartbreak," Stevie Wonder told Billboard on Friday evening (April 3) as he reflected on the death of Bill Withers. “It seems like we’re having them one after the other.”

In the past week, the music industry has lost such notable artists as Wallace Roney, Ellis Marsalis Jr., Bucky Pizzarelli, Alan Merrill, Adam Schlesinger and Joe Diffie owing to the coronavirus. Withers, whose death was revealed Friday (April 3), died of heart complications on Monday.

Wonder, who helped induct Withers into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame with John Legend in 2015, also shared the following thoughts about the singer/songwriter/musician:

“We’d been texting each other. He texted me in January telling me how much he appreciated me being there for him. Then in February he texted again talking about playing together. And I responded that it would be my pleasure, my joy. Just let me know and I’ll be there. That’s the last message I got from him.

“May the greatness of Bill Withers live forever," he added. "People will be listening to his songs and reading his lyrics like they do with great writers from ages ago, saying he was amazing. And yes, he was. We’ve got to show a lot of love to his wife and children and keep the legacy of what he left behind going ever strong. I think every artist at some point should record one of his songs on their projects. That’s how you keep it going. He deserves that.”