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Last Updated: Saturday, 5 July, 2003, 09:33 GMT 10:33 UK
Singer Barry White dies
Barry White
Barry White had been in poor health for some time
Legendary soul singer Barry White has died in Los Angeles at the age of 58, after a long illness.

He died at Cedars Sinai Hospital in West Hollywood on Friday morning, his manager Ned Shankman said.

His hits include You're My First, My Last, My Everything and Can't Get Enough Of Your Love, Babe.

He had been undergoing dialysis treatment and had been awaiting a kidney transplant since last September.

BARRY WHITE'S HITS
You're My First, My Last, My Everything
Can't Get Enough Of Your Love, Babe
Staying Power
Practice What You Preach

He suffered a stroke in May.

White's trademark deep vocals and throbbing musical beats earned him three decades of fame.

The peak of his popularity was in the 1970s, but during the 1990s, the rediscovery of 1970s music worked to his advantage, and he found himself in demand again.

He also won a whole new audience when his music was used in the hit television comedy series Ally McBeal, in which White once appeared.

'True master'

Don Cornelius, founder of US music TV show Soul Train, remembered White as "a true master".

"There was no match for Barry White. His music is just going to live forever, it's not limited to disco or soul or hip-hop or anything."

He said White's lyrics were directed toward his second wife, Glodean James.

"Love was a very important aspect of his life," Cornelius said.

"He wasn't just singing for your mate and your bedroom, he was singing and writing for his own bedroom."

Cornelius said when he visited White in hospital two months ago, the singer was almost completely incapacitated.

"The man really suffered, at times he was full of tubes. If it wasn't for the fact that he was an abnormally strong man, he would've been gone a long time ago."

Barry White and second wife Glodean
White's second wife Glodean was said to have inspired his lyrics
Sam Moore, of 1960s soul duo Sam and Dave said, "He didn't have to do like the average, jumping all over the stage. He could just stand there with his big orchestra and he could just mesmerise."

Despite being unable to read or write music, White sold more than 100 million records.

He won belated recognition for his success in 2000 when he won his first two Grammys for best male and tradition R&B vocal performance for the song Staying Power.

Ill-health

But his comeback was dogged by ill-health. A problem with chronic blood pressure led to him cancelling several live performances with the group Earth, Wind and Fire in 1999, and he was admitted to hospital.

The following year, fans in Sydney said he looked unwell on stage during a show, and many booed him and demanded refunds.

White, who was brought up in Los Angeles' South Central area, was fond of telling how his famous gravelly voice appeared overnight when he was 14.

"I woke up, and spoke to my mother, and scared us both to death," he said when he addressed the Oxford Union in 2000.

A spell in jail for stealing tyres when he was a teenager convinced him to enter the music industry in 1960, inspired by the Elvis Presley song It's Now Or Never.

In 1983 his brother Darryl, who he called his "best friend", was shot and killed by a neighbour in a dispute over change from a $20 note.

White maintained that if he had not entered the music industry, he may have suffered the same fate.




WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Lisa Hampele
"He was the ultimate singer of love songs"


Barry White spoke to BBCi about his career in 2000





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