teddy_pendergrass.jpgTeddy Pendergrass, one of the world's great soul men, died at age 59 on Wednesday after a long battle with colon cancer.

The singer, who was paralyzed after a 1982 car accident, died in a Philadelphia hospital eight months after undergoing colon cancer surgery and suffering through a difficult recovery, according to news reports.

In his prime in the 1970s, Pendergrass was one of the premier R&B singers in America, leading Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes to the top of the charts with soul classics including "If You Don't Know Me by Now" and "I Miss You."

After creative differences led him to leave the Blue Notes in 1976, Pendergrass recorded a series of solo hits for the legendary Philadelphia International label into the 1980s, including his signature hit, "Love T.K.O."

His deep baritone voice had a gritty, masculine edge that produced seductive slow jams like "Feel the Fire, "Close the Door," "Come Go With Me," "Turn off the Lights" and "It's Time for Love."

He created a new template for the modern R&B singer with his aggressive brand of soul and his smooth, ladies'-man image on songs that were sexually charged but never coarse or vulgar.

Pictured above is Teddy Pendergrass.