Sat | Jan 19, 2019

Soul legend Ben E King will be missed

Published:Sunday | May 3, 2015 | 12:00 AM
Singer Ben E. King

LEGENDARY SINGER Ben E. King (born Benjamin Earl Nelson), who is best known for the hit song Stand By Me, has died, aged 76.

King's publicist, Phil Brown, confirmed the star's death and said "he passed away (on Thursday) from natural causes".

Fellow singer Gary US Bonds paid tribute on Facebook, saying: "With an extremely heavy heart, I must say goodbye to one of the sweetest, gentlest, and gifted souls that I have had the privilege of knowing and calling my friend for more than 50 years - Mr Ben E. King. Speaking for myself, my family, and my Roadhouse Rockers family, I can tell you that Ben E. will be missed more than words can say. Our sincere condolences go out to Betty and the entire family. Thank you Ben E. for your friendship and the wonderful legacy you leave behind."

King started his career in the late 1950s with The Drifters, singing on hits including There Goes My Baby and Save The Last Dance For Me.

After going solo, he hit the United States top five with Stand By Me in 1961.

The track returned to the charts in the 1980s, reaching No. 1 in the United Kingdom when the song was used as the theme of the coming-of-age film of the same name, starring River Phoenix and Corey Feldman.

His death comes just two weeks after fellow soul crooner Percy Sledge passed away at his home in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Ben E. King is survived by his wife, Betty; three children, and six grandchildren.