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Thursday, 4 May, 2000, 14:59 GMT 15:59 UK
Soul man's arson reward
James Brown
Browned off: James Brown is offering reward
Soul legend James Brown is offering a $20,000 (12,500) reward for information about a fire which destroyed his office.

The star put up the money after losing 40 years worth of personal mementos which he kept in the building.

The incident happened at James Brown Enterprises in Augusta, Georgia last Friday.

Sylvester Stallone
Destroyed: Boxing gloves from Sylvester Stallone's Rocky IV movie

Subsequent investigations by fire experts revealed an unlocked front door and evidence of an accelerant used to start the blaze.

Among the items wiped out in Friday's incident were a pair of boxing gloves from the set of Rocky IV, in which Brown performed the song Living In America.

The singer's lawyer, Buddy Dallas, said the money was being offered in the hope of leading to an arrest and conviction.

He explained that a burglar alarm at the premises, where Brown's concerts and press were co-ordinated, had failed to go off.

Tragedy

Dallas added that master tapes of unreleased material - including a live concert from Harlem - had also perished, along with the preacher's robe his client wore in The Blues Brothers.

Brown, known as The Godfather Of Soul, has had his fair share of notoriety and tragedy over the years.

James Brown
The 'Godfather of Soul' performing on stage

Sent to reform school as a teenager for theft, he returned to jail in 1988 for a string of offences, including the illegal possession of firearms and drugs and aggravated assault.

He was released in 1991 and five years later his ex-wife Adrienne died during surgery for liposuction.

But despite all the downs, Brown has remained an icon to millions, with classic songs like I Got You (I Feel Good) and Get Up (I Feel Like Being A Sex Machine).

He was awarded a special lifetime achievement Grammy award for his services to music in 1992.

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