Iconic R&B singer Ben E. King has passed away at the age of 76. The musician is best known for his 1961 hit “Stand By Me,” though he has been recording music since the late 1950s. King’s publicist confirmed the details, revealing that the singer died on Thursday April 30.
King made his musical debut signing with the a cappella group The Drifters, utilizing his signature baritone voice before deciding to go solo. Over his career King had 21 songs chart on the Billboard Hot 100, including “Stand By Me,” which charted in the Top 10 twice. The single hit the number 4 spot in 1961 before experiencing a resurgence in 1986 when it was including in a film of the same name. The song charted at number 9 in 1986, proving its power as a song.
“Stand By Me” received international acclaim for the musician. The song was added to the National Recording Registry in 2015, paying tribute to King’s “incandescent vocal” on the track. The single along with his solo debut “Spanish Harlem” and “There Goes My Baby” have also been added to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s list of the 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.
Support is already rolling in as fellow celebrities have hopped on social media to share fond memories that they have had with King. Prince Royce was one of the first musicians to share his experience with King on social media. “I am shocked and saddened to learn of the passing of such a legend, a king, gentle, ginat of the industry. I feel blessed to have known, worked, and performed with him.” The duo performed King’s classic single “Stand By Me” at the 11th Annual Latin Grammy Awards show in 2010, and Royce claims that they remained in touch afterwards. Royce ended him memorial post by claiming that King is a role model for the industry.
Other celebrities including musician Gary US Bonds, radio DJ Bob Harris, and actor Jerry O’Connell have shared similar messages across their social media platforms. Each of the celebrities had similarly good memories of the man, with Bonds describing him as “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.”
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