Dagmar Scherf/ullstein bild via Getty ImagesFamed R&B singer Percy Sledge died Tuesday morning in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. His longtime agent, Steve Green, confirmed his death to ABC News. Sledge was 73.
The Alabama native, best known for his classic 1966 hit “When a Man Loves a Woman,” which reached #1 on the charts, passed away after a long battle with cancer.
According to Sledge’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame bio, “‘When a Man Loves a Woman’ topped the R&B and pop charts for multiple weeks and raised the bar for soul balladeering for all time. Yet Sledge’s career didn’t end with that momentous first single. Over the years he racked up a dozen hits…including ‘Warm and Tender Love,’ ‘It Tears Me Up,’ ‘Out of Left Field’ and ‘Take Time to Know Her.'”
Sledge’s most famous song was inspired by real-life events. “When a Man Loves a Woman” was about “a girl who left Sledge for another guy,” his bio reads. He “was working as a hospital orderly when he began playing clubs and frat parties,” shortly before his big break.
“When a Man Loves a Woman” would again top the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1991, Michael Bolton‘s cover version reached #1. Sledge, meanwhile continued to record and perform until recently. His latest album, The Gospel of Percy Sledge, was released in 2013.
In 1989, Sledge earned the Rhythm and Blues Foundation’s Career Achievement Award. In 2005, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
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