Soul icon Isaac Hayes died of stroke: police

Tue Aug 12, 2008 8:00pm EDT
 
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CHICAGO (Reuters) - Isaac Hayes, the deep-voiced soul music star who won an Oscar for writing the theme song to the movie "Shaft," died over the weekend from a stroke related to high blood pressure, Memphis authorities said on Tuesday.

Hayes, 65, who once described himself as a "health fanatic," was being treated for high blood pressure and had suffered a non-fatal stroke last year.

His body was found next to a running treadmill on Sunday in his Memphis home, and there was no indication he had hit his head or suffered any trauma, according to the Shelby County Medical Examiner, Dr. David Kraus, who concluded Hayes died from a stroke.

"The Hayes family is comfortable with Dr. Kraus' recommendation to not conduct an autopsy," said a statement from the Shelby County Sheriff, in Memphis.

Hayes, who was born in Tennessee, wrote for a stable of stars at Memphis soul label Stax Records during the 1960s, emerging as a performer in his own right with the album "Hot Buttered Soul." He was the first black composer to win an Oscar, for the 1971 hit "Theme from 'Shaft."'

 
<p>File photo shows soul music veteran Isaac Hayes at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Montreux, Switzerland on July 2, 2005. REUTERS/ARC-Jean-Bernard Sieber/Files</p>