Solomon Burke, a soul music pioneer and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee whose songs blended soul, gospel, country and R&B, has died. He was 70.
Burke died early Sunday at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport, according to The Associated Press. He was scheduled to perform in Amsterdam on Tuesday. Burke's family said in a statement on the singer's website that he died of natural causes.
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Burke's biggest hits include his first single, "Cry to Me," and "Everybody Needs Somebody to Love," the latter of which he wrote in 1964. The song was recorded by the Rolling Stones, but it is perhaps most famous for its use in The Blues Brothers, starring Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi.
Dirty Dancing also popularized "Cry to Me," which was featured in the background as stars Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey danced seductively in one of the film's most memorable scenes.
"This is a time of great sorrow for our entire family," the family's statement read. "We truly appreciate all of the support and well wishes from his friends and fans. Although our hearts and lives will never be the same, his love, life and music will continue to live within us forever."
Although his popularity never matched that of contemporaries James Brown or Marvin Gaye, Burke was acknowledged as one of the 1960s' greatest soul singers. Jerry Wexler, a producer for Atlantic Records, Burke's label, once called Burke "the best soul singer of all time," according to the AP.
Watch video clips of Burke in our Online Video Guide
Burke was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001 and won a Grammy the following year for his contemporary blues album, Don't Give Up on Me. Those recent honors created new interest in Burke's music, and he had toured the world in recent years, often playing songs by request rather than following a set list, according to his website.
Burke fathered 21 children, and had scores of grandchildren and great-grandchildren.