Felled by congestive heart failure on Christmas morning, James Brown used his final breaths to tell longtime manager Charles Bobbit, "I'm going away tonight," the New York Daily News reports. "I didn't believe him," Bobbit relates, adding that a short time later, Brown sighed three times, closed his eyes and died.

Per the News, fellow music legend Little Richard remembers Brown as "an innovator, an emancipator, an originator... Rap music, all that stuff came from James Brown." Adds Public Enemy's Chuck D, "To this day there has been no one as funky. No one's coming even close." Noting the singer's most holy final day of life, the Rev. Jesse Jackson says, "He was dramatic to the end.... He would have it no other way."