Venerated music industry titan Dick Griffey died Sept. 24 in Los Angeles from complications of quadruple bypass surgery, according to a press release issued by his family.

Griffey founded SOLAR Records in the late 1970s and evolved into one of the leading Black music pioneers of the 20th century. His work was key in ushering in Black artists with “crossover” appeal in the music industry. In 1977, Griffey created SOLAR and enjoyed success with award-winning acts such as Shalamar, Klymaxx, Lakeside and the Whispers. The label also produced famed artists and music industry moguls Babyface, L.A. Reid, Jody Watley and Howard Hewett.

Griffey’s final 10 years were spent in West Africa, where he was involved in commodities and international trade.

Carrie Lucas Griffey, the music industry legend’s widow, reflected on her husband’s life in a statement. “We walked these last steps with him and held him close.  But all who knew him understood he belonged to the world. He acknowledged failures but rejected defeat.

The doors he helped open, he reached back to bring others with him. He loved life and people,” she said. “He did a hard day’s work and expected the same from those around him. We celebrate his ‘going home.’”

Griffey leaves behind his wife; daughters Regina Hughes and  Carolyn Griffey; sons Lucas Griffey and Che Scelsa; grandchildren, Curtis, Devin, Paula, Reggie and Kennedi and adopted son Haile Williams.