Born in Detroit in 1940, Ware began his career working as a songwriter alongside Motown Records figures Ivy Hunter and Steve Bowden, co-penning the Isley Brothers' "Got to Have Your Back" in 1967. Ware's writing credits can also be found on work by Michael Jackson, Donny Hathaway, Bobby Womack and more.
Ware is also recognized for bringing demos for Marvin Gaye's 1976 LP I Want You to Motown founder Berry Gordy's attention. Ware then served as executive producer on the record, with critics lauding the effort's production and persuasive themes.
Ware also recorded 11 solo albums from 1972 to 2008, the most recent of which was the Stax Records release Moon Ride.
Ware was recovering from a bout of prostate cancer treatment in 2009.
A number of musicians have paid their respects to Ware on social media, which you can find below.
Just so you know, Tokyo was written about my first time going to Japan with Leon Ware. I was never the same after. Thank you Leon— Thunder....cat (@Thundercat) February 24, 2017
WOW, GOODBYE LEON WARE. A HEAVY INFLUENCE ON ME. THANKS FOR THE GUIDANCE AND AMAZING MUSIC. A SONG WE DID: https://t.co/1SABY6tuZO 😢— Tyler, The Creator (@tylerthecreator) February 24, 2017
IT SADDENS ME TO SAY THIS ... RIP LEON WARE your love will live forever in my heart. Vibes! Is yor album.— Theophilus London (@TheophilusL) February 24, 2017
If you don't know who the FUCK LEON WARE is go do your homework and then shed a motherfucking tear at the loss. RIP. 2016 wasn't shit.— Uncle Shoes (@HouseShoes) February 24, 2017