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  • Isaac Hayes Found Dead

    Mon, 11 Aug 2008 09:50:35

    Isaac Hayes Found Dead - He was 65

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    Isaac Hayes died of unknown causes in the basement of his Memphis home on Sunday. Family members found the soul/R&B legend near a running treadmill around 1 p.m. He was pronounced dead at Baptist East Hospital soon after. Hayes was 65. According to Steve Shular, a spokesman for the Shelby County Sheriff's Office, an autopsy is not planned.

    Hayes is best known for his Grammy/Academy award-winning "Theme From Shaft" single and the Chef role on South Park. While he was always proud of the former ("[it] was like the shot heard round the world," he said in a 1999 interview), Hayes quit the South Park cast in 2006 after an episode poked fun at Scientology. In a statement at the time, he said, "There is a place in this world for satire, but there is a time when satire ends and intolerance and bigotry towards religious beliefs of others begins." To which co-creator Matt Stone responded, "he's cashed plenty of checks, with our show making fun of Christians."

    Hayes was born in 1942 in Covington, TN, about 40 miles north of Memphis. He originally wanted to be a doctor, but went on the singer/songwriter path after winning a ninth grade talent contest with the Nat King Cole song "Looking Back." Since then, he's become known for such albums as Hot Buttered Soul and early attempts at fusing rap, disco, R&B and soul.

    "He has been hugely influential on the rap movement as both a spoken-word pioneer and larger-than-life persona who's influenced everyone from Barry White to Puff Daddy," the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame—who inducted Hayes in 2002—said in a statement.

    —The ARTISTdirect Staff

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