Solomon Burke has died on a plane, aged 70, as he flew to perform a concert in Holland, leaving behind 21 children and 90 grandchildren.
The legendary soul singer, who wrote Everybody Needs Somebody To Love, was discovered dead in his seat by shocked airline staff when the plane landed at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport.
A Dutch doctor said that Burke died of natural causes. His body will be returned to the US next week.
In a message to fans, relatives said on Burke’s website: “This is a time of great sorrow for our entire family. Although our hearts and lives will never be the same, his love, life and music will continue to live within us forever.”
Solomon Burke, proclaimed King of Rock and Soul, joined Atlantic Records in 1960 and his hits included Cry To Me, which was also featured in one of the most memorable scenes from 1987 film Dirty Dancing as a Patrick Swayze dances seductively with Jennifer Grey.
Burke’s Everybody Needs Somebody To Love was recorded by The Rolling Stones, Wilson Pickett and The Blues Brothers.
Taking his King title seriously, Burke often performed in full royal habit including crown, sceptre and robe. Known as much for his personality as his music, Burke was also an ordained minister and left behind a thriving congregation.
Burke’s legacy will live on, however, through his staggering 21 children and 90 grandchildren. “I got lost on one of the Bible verses that said, ‘Be fruitful and multiply,’ ” said Burke. “I didn’t read no further.”
Find out more about Solomon Burke at: thekingsolomonburke.com