Bill Withers has passed away.

The iconic musician - whose legacy includes classic hits like 'Lean On Me', 'Ain't No Sunshine' and 'Lovely Day' - died on Monday (30.03.20) from heart complications at the age of 81.

In a statement, his family said: ''We are devastated by the loss of our beloved, devoted husband and father.

''A solitary man with a heart driven to connect to the world at large, with his poetry and music, he spoke honestly to people and connected them to each other.

''As private a life as he lived close to intimate family and friends, his music forever belongs to the world.

''In this difficult time, we pray his music offers comfort and entertainment as fans hold tight to loved ones.''

Withers - who joined the US Navy at 19 and spent almost a decade in service - moved to Los Angeles after he was discharged, where he bought a guitar and recorded demos in an attempt to land a record deal.

After being signed to Sussex Records in 1971, he released debut album 'Just As I Am'.

His follow-up 'Still Bill' charted at number four in the US, and he went on to release a further four studio LPs, with the final record - 'Watching You Watching Me' - coming in 1985.

The music legend - who won three Grammy Awards throughout his illustrious career and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2015 - stopped making music in the 1980s.

However, his songs have been a beacon of hope for people around the world, and many health care workers and artists have been covering 'Lean On Me' as an anthem during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Withers is survived by wife Marcia Johnson and their two children, Todd and Kori.