Car crash thwarted Pendergrass, dead in Pa. at 59

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

January 14, 2010

NEW YORK (AP) -- Soul singer Teddy Pendergrass spent his last 28 years in a wheelchair, left to wonder what life might have been like had a car crash not altered his destiny.

Pendergrass was one of the most electric and successful figures in 1970s music. He established a new era of R&B with an explosive voice that symbolized masculinity and passion in songs such as "Close the Door" and "Love T.K.O."

His career was at its apex when a 1982 car crash paralyzed him from the waist down.

Longtime collaborator Kenny Gamble says Pendergrass had a tremendous career ahead of him but the accident "got in the way of many of those plans."

Pendergrass still was able to sing -- but without his signature power.

He died Wednesday in suburban Philadelphia after a difficult recovery following colon cancer surgery. He was 59.

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