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Fans of R&B group The Whispers are today mourning the loss of one of its original members. Nicholas Caldwell, (pictured, second from left) who also served as a songwriter for the group, died Tuesday from congestive heart failure. 

The Whispers were a group of friends who lived in Los Angeles and joined forces in 1963. The original setup of the band was a quintet, with twin brothers Walter and Wallace Scott, the late Marcus Hutson, Gordy Harmon and Caldwell honing their skills in Watts. They perfected their talents at nightclubs along the West Coast and amassed a following in the San Francisco Bay area and their native Los Angeles.

Caldwell, most recognizable by his height and robust beard, penned some of the group’s most sultry tunes. One of Caldwell’s works, “Lady,” remains a favorite of Whispers fans to this day.

Harmon left the band in the early ’70’s and was replaced by Leaveil Degree Huston, who left the band in 1989 and died from prostate cancer in 2000. Though the group continued,  they vowed to never replace Huston and stayed a quartet.

Over their career, The Whispers have two platinum and three gold albums to their credit. Their breakout self-titled ninth studio album was the first to hit big with the disco favorite “And The Beat Goes On” propelling sales domestically and internationally.

According to a rep, Caldwell passed away from congestive heart failure at his San Francisco home.

He was 71.

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