Billy Paul in 2006; Jack Vartoogian/Getty ImagesBilly Paul, a jazz and soul singer best known for the song “Me and Mrs. Jones,” died Sunday at his Blackwood, New Jersey, home at the age of 81.
A statement on Paul’s official website reads, “We regret to announce with a heavy heart that Billy has passed away today at home after a serious medical condition. We would like to extend our most sincere condolences to his wife Blanche and family for their loss, as they and the world grieves the loss of another musical icon that helped pioneered todays R&B music. Billy will be truly missed. Please share your thoughts, messages and stories of Billy as we remember this legendary artist, family member and friend.”
Paul’s manager tells Philadelphia’s WCAU-TV that the singer was diagnosed with cancer and was hospitalized last week at Temple University Hospital.
Paul, whose birth name was Paul Williams, topped the Billboard Hot 100 with the Grammy-winning 1972 song “Me and Mrs. Jones,” written and produced by Kenneth Gamble & Leon Huff.
Gamble & Huff said in a statement Sunday, “Billy’s voice combined both Jazz, R&B and Soul vocals, making him one the great artists to come out of Philly and to be celebrated worldwide. Our proudest moment with Billy was the recording of the salacious smash ‘Me and Mrs. Jones.’ In our view, it is one of the greatest love songs ever recorded.”
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