No one told you life was going to be this way...
Allee Willis—best known for writing the Friends theme song "I'll Be There For You" and Earth Wind & Fire's "September"—passed away on Christmas Eve, her publicist told the New York Times. The cause of death was cardiac arrest. She was 72.
"Allee Willis was a one-of-a-kind creative genius, Her love, spirit and artistry are forever woven into the fabric and legacy of Earth, Wind & Fire," the band's official Twitter account wrote. "She will be sorely missed. Rest in Love."
According to her website, the Friends hit—recorded by The Rembrandts— was "a real struggle" to compose. After all, as Willis noted, she was "used to writing lyrics that are funkier and not so plain sounding." Still, the catchy tune earned her a 1995 Emmy nominations. (The trophy ultimately went to Star Trek: Voyager.)
Throughout her illustrious career, the musical genius won two Grammy awards for her work on Beverly Hills Cop and Broadway's The Color Purple, the latter which also earned her a Tony nomination.
Despite her talent and massive success, Willis never learned to read or play a musical instrument. Rather, the Detroit native developed her craft by sitting outside Motown Records as a kid.
"I'm so insanely attached to Motown and all the music that was coming out of Detroit, and it gave me a love for that kind of music," she told The Detroit Free Press. "There's no question: Had I grown up anywhere else, I would not ever have been a songwriter. Because I certainly don't have the skills to be it."
The Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee wrote hundreds of songs for some of the world's most famous artists, including Ray Charles, Cyndi Lauper and Patti LaBelle. Most recently, she was working with rapper Big Sean.
Our thoughts are with her friends and family during this difficult time.