Teddy Pendergrass has died at the age of 59 after a struggle with colon cancer, ABC news is reporting. Pendergrass began his musical career as a drummer then catapulted to the front ranks of Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes after the departure of that group's lead singer. (Who wasn't Harold Melvin, as confusing as that sounds.) Guided by the producing team of Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, the group had hit after hit on the Philadelphia International label in the early-'70s.

Pendergrass departed for a successful solo carer in 1977 but in 1982 suffered serious injuries in a car accident that left him paralyzed from the waist down. Undaunted, he carried on recording and performing, even making an appearance at Live Aid in 1985. He also founded the Teddy Pendergrass Alliance, which supports people living with spinal cord injuries.

Irreplaceable? Yes. And here's why: