Felled by congestive heart failure
on Christmas morning,
used his final breaths to tell longtime manager
, "I'm going away tonight," the New York
reports. "I didn't believe him," Bobbit relates, adding that a short time later, Brown sighed three times, closed his eyes and died.
, fellow music legend
remembers Brown as "an innovator, an emancipator, an originator... Rap music, all that stuff came from James Brown." Adds Public Enemy's
, "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."