RIP: Isaac Hayes, Gone at 65


Isaac Hayes, most known for his theme song for the 1971 movie Shaft and the voice of Chef on Comedy Central’s “South Park,” passed away on Sunday at the age of 65.

The “Theme from Shaft,” which would earn both Grammys and an Oscar, was just a snippet of the groundbreaking music for which Hayes was responsible.

He penned soul classics like “Hold On I’m Comin'” for Sam & Dave, helped usher in the era of disco and was a goldmine for countless hip-hop and R&B artists who used his illustrious arrangements as the focal point for their songs decades later.

Hayes also acted in movies including Tough Guys, I’m Gonna Git You Sucka and Hustle & Flow. He had recently completed the movie Soul Men, in which he played himself; the film also stars Samuel L. Jackson and Bernie Mac, who died on Saturday after a bout with pneumonia. And a new generation of fans discovered the man behind Shaft when, in 1997, he became the voice of Chef on the Comedy Central show “South Park.”

Hayes, a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, was pronounced dead at Baptist Memorial Hospital-Memphis in Memphis, Tenn., after collapsing Sunday afternoon near a treadmill in his home nearby.

Steve Shular, a spokesman for the sheriff’s office, said authorities received a 911 call after Hayes’ wife and young son and his wife’s cousin returned home from the grocery store and found him collapsed in a downstairs bedroom. A sheriff’s deputy administered CPR until paramedics arrived.