The world mourned with music legend Stevie Wonder in 2018 as he mourned the loss of his dear friend, the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin. Little did fans know that he lost his younger sister, Renee Hardaway, just three months prior. The circumstances surrounding Renee’s passing were equally as devastating.
A Family Rift & a Tragic End
Stevie and his sister, Renee, once had a close bond, even co-writing some of Stevie’s hit songs. But as time went by, there was reported tension between them. It’s unclear what caused the rift, but there was an alleged family dispute involving Renee’s son.
Stevie’s Sister Was Found ‘Almost Unrecognizable’
Tragically, Renee was found dead in her home, reportedly so badly decomposed that she was almost unrecognizable. Stevie’s former co-writer Susaye Green spoke out about the loss through the message “Saddened to hear of the death of Renee Hardaway, Stevie Wonder’s younger sister. (On the right in the photo) Renee suggested “I Can’t Help It” (which Steve & I wrote,) for Michael Jackson’s “Off The Wall” Album. Rest In Peace in Heaven, dear girl. Love you always.”
Why Stevie Had To Send His Sister’s Son To Prison
The loss of his sister weighed heavily on Stevie and was made even more difficult by previous family tensions. In 2012, Renee’s son, Alpha Lorenzo Walker, was caught in an extortion plot with his girlfriend, threatening to lie about an incestuous relationship between Stevie and Renee for $5 million.
Stevie was forced to cooperate with law enforcement in sending Renee’s son to prison for extortion. The cops posed as Stevie’s representatives, armed with the cash, and met with Walker. They asked him to sign a document acknowledging the falsity of his accusations before handing over the money. But as soon as Walker signed the document, he was immediately taken into custody.
Stevie’s Ex-Employee Remembers His Sister Beautifully
Stevie’s former electronics engineer John Lindsay remembered Renee as funny and outgoing, with a potential future in entertainment. John Lindsay sent his condolence saying:
“Outside of her house, she and her friend spoofed the Evelyn Woodhead sped red’n course commercial. She was a delight. Funny and outgoing. I always thought she would be an entertainer. Steve, I am so sorry for your loss.”
She now rests peacefully with her mother at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Los Angeles. Our hearts go out to Stevie and his family during this difficult time.