Theodore DeReese Pendergrass (March 26, 1950 – January 13, 2010) was an American singer. Born in Philadelphia, PA at Thomas Jefferson Hospital. Pendergrass was raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He initially rose to musical fame as the lead singer of Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes. After leaving the group over monetary disputes in 1976, Pendergrass launched a successful solo career under the Philadelphia International label, releasing five consecutive platinum albums, a record at the time for an African-American R&B artist. Pendergrass's career was suspended after a March 1982 car crash that left him paralyzed from the shoulders down. Pendergrass continued his successful solo career until announcing his retirement in 2007. Pendergrass died from respiratory failure in January 2010.