Pendergrass suffered a spinal cord injury and was paralyzed from the waist down in the 1982 car accident. He spent six months in a hospital but returned to recording the next year with the album “Love Language.”
He returned to the stage at the Live Aid concert in 1985, performing from his wheelchair.
His lyrics were never coarse, as those of later male R&B stars would be, but they had a sensual nature that bordered on erotic without being explicit.
Pendergrass, the first black male singer to record five consecutive multi-platinum albums, made women swoon with each note, and his concerts were a testament to that adulation, with infamous stories of women throwing their underwear on stage for his affection.
Following the car accident, it was 19 years before Pendergrass resumed performing concerts. He made his return on Memorial Day weekend in 2001, with two sold-out shows in Atlantic City, N.J.
Pendergrass is survived by his son, two daughters, his wife, his mother and nine grandchildren.