When A Man Loves A Woman singer Percy Sledge dies aged 74
Soul singer Percy Sledge, best known for his recording of When a Man Loves A Woman, has died at his home in Louisiana at the age of 74 after battling liver cancer.
Sledge, dubbed The King of Slow Soul, recorded the song for Atlantic Records in 1966.
It was his first single and is considered one of the greatest soul songs.
He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2005.
“It is with great sadness that we must say goodbye to a true legend, a humble family man and a beautiful human being,” said his friend and manager Mark Lyman.
Sledge died peacefully at home in Baton Rouge surrounded by his family.
He had been diagnosed with the illness more than a year ago and his condition worsened last week.
He had not performed since the middle of March last year.
“Everybody loved him. It wasn’t just about When a Man Loves A Woman. There were many other songs that he recorded,” Lyman said.
“He was an ambassador of the humble man but yet an international icon.”
Born in Leighton, Alabama, Sledge rose to stardom in the 1960s.
He worked as a hospital orderly for about seven years and began performing with the Esquires in local clubs.
Sledge was known for his distinctive vocals and recorded a string of hits, including Warm and Tender Love, It Tears Me Up and Take Time to Know Her.
But When a Man Loves A Woman was his signature song, and he said the inspiration came after his girlfriend left him.
The song, which is number 53 on Rolling Stone magazine’s 500 greatest songs of all time list, was recorded by other artists including Michael Bolton and Bette Midler.
Sledge received his first career achievement award from the Rhythm & Blues Foundation in 1989 and was also an inductee into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame.
While he was best known in the United States for his enduring best-loved hit, he was popular in other places including the Caribbean and Scandinavia.
“They knew every one of Percy’s songs,” his agent Steve Green said of Sledge’s global audience.
“They knew them just like they knew When a Man Loves A Woman.”
Sledge is survived by his wife, Rosa, several children and a brother and sister.