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Billboard
updated 2/5/2006 8:14:02 PM ET 2006-02-06T01:14:02

Gene McFadden, one-half of McFadden & Whitehead, the legendary R&B duo famed for the 1979 pop anthem “Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now,” has died.

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The 56-year-old succumbed to complications from liver and lung cancer at his Philadelphia home on Jan. 27.

Songwriter/producer partner John Whitehead predeceased McFadden in May 2004 after being fatally shot outside his Philadelphia home. Whitehead’s murder remains unsolved.

McFadden & Whitehead were teens when they first broke into the industry as founding members of soul band the Epsilons. The group toured with Otis Redding, who was also the act’s manager, until his death in 1967.

The pair then joined Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff’s Philadelphia International label, bent on pursuing a recording career. However, McFadden & Whitehead’s songwriting prowess took center stage when they penned “Back Stabbers” for the O’Jays. The R&B chart-topper became a No. 3 pop crossover hit and opened the door to a host of McFadden & Whitehead-written classics, including Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes’ “Wake Up Everybody (Part 1)” and the Intruders’ “I’ll Always Love My Mama.” They hit No. 1 hit on the R&B chart with “Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now.”

“McFadden & Whitehead were instrumental in creating the sound of Philadelphia,” Gamble & Huff said in a statement following McFadden’s death. “Their talent was indispensable, and their music capabilities were uniquely flexible.”

McFadden is survived by his wife, Barbara; two daughters; and two sons.

© 2013 Billboard

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