CLAYTON, Ohio, May 17 (UPI) -- Singer Johnnie Wilder Jr., co-founder of the Grammy-nominated funk group, Heatwave, has died in Clayton, Ohio, at age 56.
No cause of death was given for Wilder, who was paralyzed from the neck down in a 1979 car crash, the Dayton (Ohio) Daily News reported. He died Saturday at his home.
Wilder and his brother, Keith, founded Heatwave while stationed in Germany with the U.S. Army and took the group to the top of the charts with a string of 1970s disco/funk hits such as "Boogie Nights" and "Always and Forever."
The group was recording its third album, "Hot Property," in 1979 when Wilder's rental car was struck by a van, leaving him paralyzed from the neck down and hospitalized for a year, the Daily News said.
Keith Wilder said his brother was given a week to live and outlasted doctor's predictions by 27 years.
He eventually returned to recording with Heatwave and later released two gospel albums, "My Goal" and "One More Day."
In addition to Keith, Wilder is survived by his wife, a daughter and two other brothers.