The US singer-songwriter Isaac Hayes has died at the age of 65. Hayes, who was married four times and had twelve children, was found unconscious at his home in Memphis. He was taken to hospital but found to be dead on arrival.
After an early career as a session musician for artists including Otis Redding, Hayes turned to
songwriting in the late 60’s and made his name with the groundbreaking album Hot Buttered Soul.
His committment to the Church of Scientology would later cost him his role as the gravelly voiced Chef in South Park. He quit in 2006 after the satirical cartoon mocked the religious movement.
Along with Al Green, James Brown and Stevie Wonder, Hayes was one of the dominant black artists of the early 1970’s.
He will always be best known for his iconic theme to the 1971 film Shaft, an irresistibly urgent mix of wah-wah guitars and hi-hat cymbals.
Hayes won an Oscar for the song and a nomination for the score. It also clinched him two Grammys.
The cause of his death is not yet known.