Theodore DeReese "Teddy" Pendergrass was an American singer. Born and 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 four consecutive platinum albums, then a record for an African-American R&B artist. Pendergrass' career was halted after a near-fatal car crash in March 1982 that left him paralyzed from the chest down. Pendergrass continued his successful solo career until announcing his retirement in 2007. Pendergrass died from respiratory failure in January 2010.