Legendary songwriter Leon Ware has passed away at the age of 77. According to NPR, the longtime Motown songwriter died on February 23, just over a week after his 77th birthday.
Ware’s credits are a who’s who of iconic performers spanning several generations. Ware worked with Donny Hathaway and The Isley Brothers at Motown and later worked with Michael Jackson and Quincy Jones. He’s perhaps best known (outside of his own solo albums) for being Marvin Gaye‘s right-hand man on one of the soul singer’s most-beloved albums. Ware co-wrote and produced every single song on I Want You , the follow-up to Gaye’s late-night breakout Let’s Get It On.
Ware was not content to rest on his laurels, however. He worked with neo-soul acolytes like Maxwell and even the Odd Future head Tyler, The Creator in his later years. Both artists were among the many people paying tribute to Ware on social media.
Questlove said a few words about the “author of the sexiest pen game” and “master craftsman” on Instagram:
The official account of Motown paid tribute to the man who helped build their label with his work:
And Stax Records also joined in on the digital ceremony:
Though Ware battled prostate cancer throughout the ’00s, no cause of death has been revealed.