Legendary jazz, funk, R&B artist Bernard Wright dies at age 58

Tragedy struck the world of jazz, funk, and R&B music last week when it was revealed that legendary singer Bernard Wright died at the young age of 58 after being struck by a vehicle while crossing the street in his native Dallas, Texas, as Vibe reports.

Confirmation of the sad development came from musician William Patterson, who took to Facebook to speak directly to Wright’s friends and fans.

“On behalf of the family of Bernard Wright (Nard), we are saddened to announce that yesterday [Thursday, May 19] Bernard has been called home to the Most High,” Patterson’s post read, adding, “[m]any thanks for everyone’s support, encouragement, and prayers for Nard throughout the years.”

“Please keep the family in your thoughts and prayers through this difficult time. Our hearts are heavy and our faith is strong,” Patterson continued, stating, “[t]o be absent from the body is to be present with The Lord! LOVE! Rest in Power, Nard.”

According to Dallas ABC affiliate WFAA, Wright was born in Queens, New York and first rose to widespread fame with the release of his 1985 hit, “Who Do You Love,” a tune that received renewed attention a decade later when it was sampled heavily in rapper LL Cool J’s “Loungin’.”

Wright’s career success continued when he notched hits on the Billboard 200, the Billboard U.S. R&B Album, and Billboard U.S. Jazz Album charts and gained acclaim as a a multi-talented studio musician collaborating with the likes of Miles Davis, Doug E. Fresh, Bobby Brown, and Cameo.

In later years, Wright turned his focus to gospel music, ultimately releasing three albums within the genre, and he served as a mentor and elder industry statesman to countless younger musicians in the Dallas R&B, funk, and jazz communities, as WFAA noted.

As Vibe further reported, Wright’s godmother was Grammy-winning artist Roberta Flack, whose Twitter page was updated on Friday to read, “Last night, my godson and former musical director, Bernard Wright, passed away suddenly. I loved Bernard very much and believed deeply in his talent. His loss is heartbreaking.”

In addition to Flack, millions of music aficionados across the globe will surely be saddened by the loss of Wright, but his indelible contributions to the industry and to the successes achieved by his fellow artists will undoubtedly endure for decades to come.