Born in the rural poverty of a sharecropper’s family on August 20, 1942, in Covington, Tennessee, Hayes rose to artistic success as an accomplished Grammy, Golden Globe and Academy Award winning composer/musician, paving the way for his fellow African Americans in the arts and entertainment world. As well as being a published author, actor and radio personality, Hayes is a coronated King of Ghana in western Africa. Instead of a palace, he built an 8,000 square foot educational facility as he felt that education and literacy are the keys to a successful life.
He is survived by his wife of three years, Adjowa Hayes, and their two–year–old son, Kwadjo Hayes, and ten children—Jacqueline Fields, Felecia Hayes Fisher, Veronica Hayes, Vincent Hayes, Melanie Hayes, Nikki McGhee, Heather Hayes, Isaac Hayes III, Darius Caston and Lillian Bryant—14 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
The family issued the following statement:
“We are overwhelmed with the outpouring of support and love from Isaac’s dear friends, colleagues and fans from every corner of the world, and we thank each and every one of them for their kind thoughts and prayers. While he was an iconic figure to many, to us he was husband, father and friend. We will ever miss his love, wisdom, humor and the familiar comfort of his voice.”
To celebrate Hayes’ constant support of the Stax Music Academy and his Stax Records Legacy, the Hayes family, in lieu of flowers, requests that donations be sent to:
Stax Music Academy, 926 E. McLemore Avenue, Memphis, TN 38106. Checks can be made out to Soulsville, and please specify “In memory of Isaac Hayes.”
“To the world he was Black Moses, Ike The Ripper and, later, Chef from TV’s South Park. To the rest of us who had the extraordinary opportunity to work with him in recent years, he was just Isaac. He was humble, unpretentious and refreshingly down-to-earth. Not bad for a man who delivered a record-setting seven #1 albums to the Billboard R&B chart, scored numerous awards (including multiple Grammys and 2 Academy Awards), appeared in over three dozen films and was named a Royal King of Ghana along the way.”
– Concord Music Group
“Isaac Hayes exemplified all that is Stax. We are all very fortunate to have worked with a visionary who changed music in indelible and profound ways. His talent was matched only by his kindness of spirit. On behalf of the entire Concord/Stax family we express our deep sympathies to his family, friends and fans all over the world.”
– Concord Music Group president & CEO Glen Barros
“Dear America and World Citizens,
Greetings of Peace to you all.
Needless to say, I am deeply saddened and the world has suffered a great loss of a friend to all mankind.
‘Doc’, (Isaac) was more than a poor boy who picked cotton in Memphis, TN, who then rose to become an icon in the music industry, later winning an Oscar for the legendary music score ‘Shaft’.
He was a father & husband,
He was an activist, humanitarian,
He was a multifaceted pioneer.
He was the International Spokesperson for the greatest grassroots movement of all time: The World Literacy Crusade!
The one thing that will be most missed about “Doc” is that he was a good man who cared and loved all people. He always brought joy and happiness to everyone who came into his presence.
Isaac can never be replaced; therefore, he will never be forgotten.
Doc, wherever you are now, please know that you are loved by all and your living has not been in vain.”
-Rev. Alfreddie Johnson, PhD
“In London, while I was working on hit records as a sound engineer, I had the fortuitous opportunity to meet the great ‘hot buttered soul man’, Isaac Hayes, at his London concert. Later, I met him again through youth education and we became very good friends.
“Isaac Hayes changed the course of black music and—with his vision—changed the course of children’s literacy around the world.
“I personally look forward to meeting him again. Good luck, Isaac! You were a true Renaissance Man: a man who could do anything!”
– Simaen Skolfield Photographer and Sound Engineer
“As a co-founder of the Community Learning Center, I have had the distinct honor of working with Mr. Hayes on several occasions in forwarding our mutual goal of improving the literacy and lives of youth.
“The thing that has struck me the most about him is his great love for his fellow man. When the Center first opened, he led a two mile march through Greenwood from the Kings Highway Recreation Center to the new Community Learning Center. Following the pomp and circumstance of the ribbon cutting Mr. Hayes was to have returned to his hotel. Instead, he stayed for hours. He stayed at the Center so he could sign autographs and talk to every single person that had come to see him. He took the time to talk to mothers about their struggling children, teens about their goals, and to answer the questions of his many fans.
“Over dinner with my husband and I, Isaac told us stories of his youth, and growing up poor in the South. It was during these stories that I was struck again, but this time by his great sense of humor.
“Mr. Hayes, you are loved very much and will be missed.”
- Tampa Bay Informer