‘What You Won’t Do for Love’ singer Bobby Caldwell dies at age 71

LAS VEGAS, NV – NOVEMBER 08: Singer Bobby Caldwell arrives at the 2013 BET Soul Train Awards at the Orleans Arena on November 8, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by C Flanigan/WireImage)

C. Flanigan | Wire Image | Getty Images

Bobby Caldwell, the singer-songwriter who mastered several genres, died Tuesday, his wife Mary said. He turned 71.

An official cause of death has not been released; his wife said he died of fluoroquinolone toxicity after an antibiotic prescribed to him in 2017 wreaked “havoc” on his body.

“He was prescribed that with a runny nose and cough, and it should never have happened, but it did, and it’s irreversible when you get hit as hard as he did,” she said. “It only wreaks havoc.”

The Food and Drug Administration in 2016 warned against the use of fluoroquinolones in the treatment of “less severe” bacterial infections because of the disabling side effects associated with them. Warning labels were also updated in 2013 to include possible irreversible nerve damage from the drug.

Consumers are perhaps most familiar with Cipro, a brand-name variation of quinolone antibiotics.

Influenced by artists such as Nat King Cole and the Beatles, Caldwell set his sights on a career in music at the age of 17, writing and singing hits such as “What You Won’t Do for Love” and “My Flame”. His parents were also singers who hosted a musical variety show, according to the biography on his website.

Caldwell’s ability to tap into multiple genres, including jazz and R&B, has made his catalog last. Boyz II Men sampled his song “What You Won’t Do for Love” in 1997 for their song “To the Limit”, nearly 20 years after the hit was first released.

Rapper Biggie Smalls also got a taste of Caldwell in the 1990s, using “My Flame” in his hit song “Sky’s the Limit”, which was later used in a biopic about Smalls’ life and career.

Caldwell lived in New Jersey and is survived by his wife and daughters.

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