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Bobby Caldwell, the singer-songwriter who mastered a variety of genres, died Tuesday, said his wife, Mary. He was 71.
An official cause of death has not been released; his wife said he died of fluoroquinolone toxicity after an antibiotic he was prescribed in 2017 wreaked “havoc” on his body.
“He was prescribed it with a runny nose and cough and it should never have happened but it did and it’s irreversible if you get hit really hard like he did,” she said. “It just wreaks havoc.”
The Food and Drug Administration issued a warning in 2016 about the use of fluoroquinolones to treat “less serious” bacterial infections because of debilitating side effects associated with it. Warning labels were also updated in 2013 to include potentially irreversible nerve damage from the drug.
Consumers may be 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 heart on a career in music at the age of 17 and went on to write and sing 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 given his catalog longevity. 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 sampled Caldwell in the 1990s, using “My Flame” in his hit “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.