Otis Redding III, son of legendary soul singer Otis Redding, has died this week aged just 59.
The Georgia native – whose father tragically died in a plane crash in 1967 – had followed his father into the music scene, starting a funk band called The Reddings with his brother Dexter in the 1980s. Six albums and several Billboard-charting singles later, The Reddings recorded their final album in 1988 – but Redding continued playing and performing.
USA Today detailed how he was once hired for a European tour as a guitarist for soul singer Eddie Floyd. It was under Floyd’s guidance that Redding became more comfortable performing ‘(Sittin’ On) the Dock of the Bay’ and other songs by his father.
The same year, Redding underwent surgery for prostate cancer. At the time, he told local ABC affiliate WSB: “Any time you hear the word you have a life-threatening disease like cancer, it gets to you mentally.”
Redding worked with his family’s foundation, organizing summer camps that teach children to play music and serving as board president for his local chapter of Meals on Wheels.
While Redding did admit his father’s legacy often overshadowed his ability to make his own music, he always spoke about how grateful he was for his father. “No matter how hard I try to do my own thing, you know, it’s like … ‘sing one of your daddy’s songs.’ So I go ahead and do what people want, and I live with it. But I’m not under any pressure and I don’t put myself mentally under any pressure to go begging for record deals,” he said, via NBC.
On Wednesday, Redding’s sister Karla Redding took to Facebook to confirm her brother’s passing, writing: “It is with heavy hearts that the family of Otis Redding III confirms that he lost his battle with cancer last evening at Atrium Health Navicent in Macon, Ga. Otis was 59 years old.
Our thoughts go out to Otis Redding III’s family, friends, and fans at this difficult time.