Solomon Burke was born to the sound of music in an upstairs room of a Philadelphia church and went on to become one of the greatest soul singers of the 1960s, renowned as among music's premier vocalists.
Yet his popularity never matched that of those he influenced, contemporaries including James Brown and Marvin Gaye, a reality he accepted with grace and some frustration, colleagues said.
Burke, 70, died early Sunday of natural causes at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport, his family said in a statement on the singer's website.
"This is a time of great sorrow for our entire family. We truly appreciate all of the support and well wishes from his friends and fans," the statement said. "Although our hearts and lives will never be the same, his love, life and music will continue to live within us forever," it added. The family did not elaborate on the cause of death.
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