Perennial music legend Ray Charles has died of liver failure on Thursday. He was 73.
Charles was surrounded by family and friends at his Beverly Hills home when he died at 11.35 am.
Charles, blind by teh age of 7, won a staggering 12 Grammy Awards, scoring with hits like Georgia on My Mind, Hit the Road Jack, Makin' Whoppee and I Can't Stop Loving You.
"He was a fabulous man, full of humor and wit," fellow music legend Aretha Franklin said in a statement. "A giant of an artist, and of course, he introduced the world to secular soul singing."
Billy Joel said many artists had tried to emulate Charles, "among them myself, Rod Stewart, Joe Cocker, Steve Winwood and countless others. Ray Charles defined rhythm and blues, soul, and authentic rock 'n' roll."
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