Thursday 12pm ET: Feature Artist – Billy Stewart

William Larry Stewart II (March 24, 1937 – January 17, 1970) was an American rhythm and blues singer and pianist who was popular during the 1960s.

Stewart’s weight caused him several health problems, culminating in diabetes, a condition that may have contributed to him having a motorcycle accident in 1969.

He died in a broad-daylight car accident in January 1970, just two months prior to his 33rd birthday. The accident happened when the Ford Thunderbird that Stewart was driving approached a bridge across the Neuse River near Smithfield, North Carolina (presumably on Interstate 95). His car left the highway, ran along the median strip at a slight angle to the highway, struck the bridge abutment, and then plunged into the river, killing Stewart and his three passengers instantly. The other victims in the accident were members of Stewart’s band: Norman P. Rich, 39, of Washington D.C., William Cathey, 32 of Charlotte, N.C., and Rico Hightower, 22 of Newark, New Jersey. The four musicians were driving to a nightclub show in Columbia, South Carolina at the time of the wreck. The car had been purchased only 12 days before and had been driven only 1,400 miles before the accident occurred.

Stewart was buried in National Harmony Memorial Park in Landover, Maryland.