Charles Bradley Passes Away After Long Bout With Cancer At 68
The critically acclaimed soul singer was diagnosed with stomach cancer in the fall of 2016 and underwent treatment. Sadly, he succumbed to his illness at 68.
The former James Brown impersonator who found career success later in life, Charles Bradley, has sadly passed away at the age of 68 from stomach cancer.
“It is with a heavy heart that we announce the passing of Charles Bradley,” the singer’s rep said in a released statement. “Always a fighter, Charles battled cancer with everything he had. He was diagnosed with stomach cancer in the fall of 2016 and underwent treatment. Bradley headed out on the road earlier this year after receiving a clean bill of health but the cancer recently returned, spreading to his liver.
Over the course of three albums — 2011’s No Time For Dreaming, 2013’s Victim of Love and 2016’s Changes —Bradley blended soul, funk, R&B and ballads into tracks that celebrated his hardscrabble life and joyous upbringing. “Thank you for your prayers during this difficult time,” Bradley’s reps added. “Mr. Bradley was truly grateful for all the love he’s received from his fans and we hope his message of love is remembered and carried on.”
Bradley was homeless as a teenager, who battled illiteracy, poverty, chronic unemployment and racism, as a Brooklyn-born singer. When he turned 23, Bradley’s sister took him to James Brown’s landmark performance at Harlem’s famed Apollo Theater. He would be dramatically inspired and translated that moment into regional success as a
James Brown impersonator in New York named Black Velvet. Incorporating wigs and costumes he would hand-sew himself, Bradley made an impression on Gabriel Roth, the co-founder of Daptone Records, who already had Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings and Antibalas on their roster.
That collaboration, along with producer-musician Tom Brenneck overlooking all three of Bradley’s album, made his debut No Time for Dreaming one of the 50 Best Albums of the Year (2011). As Charles continued to fight against the cancer, he would eventually cancel his fall tour, saying, “I love all of you out there that made my dreams come true. When I come back, I’ll come back strong, with God’s love. With God’s will, I’ll be back soon.”
It is sad that such a force in the music community is no longer with us. Daptone Records labelmate Antibalas summed it up with an emotional thought on Twitter, “RIP to our dear brother Charles Bradley. Your heart was too big for this planet. See you on the other side. We love you.”
We love you, too, Charles. May you rest in deserved peace, free from pain.
Source: Rolling Stone