Caldwell’s wife said the singer’s health began deteriorating six years ago after complications from a medication.
Bobby Caldwell, the singer-songwriter who mastered a range of genres, died Tuesday, his wife Mary said. He was 71.
While an official cause of death has not been released, his wife told NBC News he died of Fluoroquinolone toxicity after an antibiotic he’d been 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 regarding the use of fluoroquinolone in treating “less serious” bacterial infections due to disabling side effects associated with it. Warning labels were also updated in 2013 to include the 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 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. His song “What You Won’t Do for Love” was sampled by Boyz II Men 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 Small’s life and career.
Caldwell lived in New Jersey and is survived by his wife and daughters.