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Soul Legend Isaac Hayes Dies at 65

Grammy and Academy Award-winning soul legend Isaac Hayes was found unconscious, next to a treadmill, in his Memphis home and eventually rushed to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead on Sunday. Hayes was 65. The ‘Shaft‘ singer paved the way for smooth, deep-voiced crooners like the late Barry White and is credited for rapping before the genre’s actual existence. “The rappers have gone in and created a lot of hit music based upon my influence,” Hayes said. “And they’ll tell you if you ask.”

Hip-hop went on to show love to the legend by sampling Hayes’ classics. Jay-Z‘s ‘Can I Live’ samples the music from Hayes’ ‘The Look of Love’ and Public Enemy borrowed the guitar riff from the ‘Theme From Shaft’ for 1988′s ‘Caught, Can We Get a Witness?’ off ‘It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back.’ Also, Nas‘ ‘Getting Married’ features Hayes’ ‘Ike Mood I’ and the Notorious B.I.G. used the back track of the soul singer’s version of ‘Walk on By.’

The godfather of soul and funk, Hayes’ ‘Theme From Shaft,’ for which the singer-songwriter won an Academy Award for Best Original Song, is widely known as one of the most iconic soundtrack hits. Hayes regained popularity in the 90′s as the voice of Jerome “Chef” McElroy on the popular, controversial cartoon ‘South Park.’

Isaac Hayes Snapshots

    EASTNOR, ENGLAND – AUGUST 5: Isaac Hayes performs on the Open Air stage during the third day of the Big Chill music festival at Eastnor Castle Deer Park in the Malvern Hills on August 5, 2007 in Herefordshire, England. (Photo by Jim Dyson/Getty Images)

    Getty Images

    EASTNOR, ENGLAND – AUGUST 5: (FILE) Isaac Hayes performs on the Open Air stage during the third day of the Big Chill music festival at Eastnor Castle Deer Park in the Malvern Hills on August 5, 2007 in Herefordshire, England. Hayes was found dead at his home at the age of 65, according to reports on August 10, 2008. (Photo by Jim Dyson/Getty Images)

    Getty Images

    ** FILE ** In this July 27, 2001 file photo, Isaac Hayes reacts to the crowd of people at World of Music and Dance, a three-day festival of music, arts and dance, in Redmond, Wash. Isaac Hayes, the pioneering singer, songwriter and musician whose relentless “Theme From Shaft” won Academy and Grammy awards died Sunday Aug. 10, 2008. He was 65. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

    AP

    Singer Isaac Hayes performs at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 17th Annual Induction Dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York in this March 18, 2002 file photo. Oscar-winning soul singer Hayes died in Memphis on August 10, 2008, aged 65, his friend and former manager Onzie Horne said. REUTERS/Mike Segar/Files (UNITED STATES)

    Reuters

    U.S. musician, actor and singer Isaac Hayes performs in the Wattstax Revue at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Montreux, in this July 2, 2005 file photo. Oscar-winning soul singer Hayes died in Memphis on August 10, 2008, aged 65, his friend and former manager Onzie Horne said. REUTERS/ARC-Jean-Bernard Sieber/Files (SWITZERLAND)

    Reuters

    ** FILE ** In this April 11, 1972 picture, Isaac Hayes holds his Oscar for best song “Theme From Shaft” from the movie “Shaft” during the Academy Awards ceremonies in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. Hayes, the pioneering singer, songwriter and musician, died in Memphis, Tenn. on Sunday, Aug. 10, 2008, the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office said. He was 65. (AP Photo)

    AP

    (FILES) This photo taken on March 18, 2002 shows inductee Isaac Hayes (L) being introduced by Alicia Keyes during the 2002 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City. The American funk-soul legend and Academy Award-award winning musician Isaac Hayes was found dead on August 10, 2008 at his home in Memphis, Tennessee, officials said. He was 65. The talented singer, songwriter and composer, who won the Oscar in 1972 for best original song for the theme from “Shaft,” was found unresponsive at his house by family members, Shelby county spokesman Steve Shular told CNN. AFP PHOTO/TIMOTHY A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

    AFP/Getty Images

    ** FILE ** In this 1971 picture, Isaac Hayes speaks during an interview in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles describing how he had lost $5 million to record pirates and how he had hired ex-FBI agents to fight the practice. Hayes, the pioneering singer, songwriter and musician, died in Memphis, Tenn. on Sunday, Aug. 10, 2008, the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office said. He was 65. (AP Photo)

    AP

    ** FILE ** This handout image supplied by Comedy Central, shows the character of Chef, center, a cook at the elementary school voiced by Isaac Hayes in “South Park,” with two other characters. Isaac Hayes, the pioneering singer, songwriter and musician whose relentless “Theme From Shaft” won Academy and Grammy awards died Sunday Aug. 10, 2008. He was 65. (AP Photo/Comedy Central, File) ** NO SALES **

    AP

    ** FILE ** This 2006 file photo, released by Isaac Hayes, shows Isaac Hayes and his wife Adjowa Hayes, posing for the first family photo with their new baby boy, Nana Kwadjo Hayes, in Memphis, Tenn. The baby was born in Memphis, on April 10, 2006. Isaac Hayes, the pioneering singer, songwriter and musician whose relentless “Theme From Shaft” won Academy and Grammy awards died Sunday Aug. 10, 2008. He was 65. (AP Photo, File) ** NO SALES **

    AP

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