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'What You Won't Do for Love' singer Bobby Caldwell dies at 71

Caldwell's wife said his health began deteriorating six years ago after complications from a medication.
Bobby Caldwell at the 2013 Soul Train Awards in Las Vegas
Bobby Caldwell at the Soul Train Awards in Las Vegas in 2013.Frank Micelotta / Invision / AP file

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 that with a runny nose and cough, and it never should have happened, but it did, and it’s irreversible if you get hit real bad like he did," she said. "It just wreaks havoc.”

The Food and Drug Administration issued a warning in 2016 about the use of fluoroquinolones in treating "less serious" bacterial infections because of disabling side effects associated with it. Warning labels were also updated in 2013 to include potentially irreversible nerve damage from the drug.

Consumers might 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 age 17 and went on to write and sing such hits 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," almost 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.