The legendary R&B singer Ray Charles has died in Los Angeles, aged 73
Blind from the age of six, Charles mixed his musical styles, dabbling in country, jazz, big band and blues, topped off by his distinctive singing voice.
He won a string of Grammy awards for songs such as Hit the Road Jack, I Can't Stop Loving You and Busted.
How will you remember Ray Charles? Please send us your reaction to his death.
This tribute page is now closed. Read selection of your comments:
I will always remember Ray Charles, sitting at a piano and swaying back and forth to the blues. To call a musician of his stature a "legend" is almost an understatement: Ray Charles was one of the creators of 20th century modern music. Not bad for an impoverished, blind African-American. His sultry music will live on for me and millions of others. And his life was a shining testament to perserverance in the face of unimaginable adversity. God bless you, Ray!
Ralph Zema, USA
I am an old white woman from Mississippi. Of course I was not allowed to listen to Ray Charles as a child (but I did). In 1960 I moved to Washington, D.C. and spent the next 40 years following him around town. Once he even played a double bill with Aretha Franklin. He was elegance and grace personified. His voice held every emotion, and more. We will not see his like again. But I will keep playing his music every day.
Anne Hunsinger, USA
A perfect example of the endurance of the human spirit. You have overcome so much. Rest in peace while I keep Georgia on my mind.
Everything that one could say about Ray Charles will never match the majesty of his importance to the music world. A myth, a legend, a genius... Those things were already said about him but they sound so vague now. His voice that sounds like a razor blade into a velvet cloud can only be, from now on, heard amongst the angels of heaven. I'll remember him like I remember all the other golden voices that God called unto Him; he's joined the gallery of voices that made the world a little bit more liveable. Voices like Elvis', Sinatra's Lennon's Janis's etc. Long Live the King (if you don't know Ray means King).
Sergio Giavarina, Brazil
I will never forget him. I will play a Ray Charles track every day.
John Ireland, UK
Am I blue. Am I blue.
Ain't these tears in these eyes tellin' you?
Oh, am I blue?
Well, I bet you would be, too, if each plan with your man done fell through.
Was I gay 'til today? But now that man is gone, he's gone and we are through.
Am I blue.
Jacqueline Mouat, USA
Loved the man and his music - please can you re-run the Ray Charles Meridian Masterpiece first broadcast in April 2001??? Would love to hear it again.
Harriet Griffey, UK
After arriving in this country in l956 I heard Ray Charles on an old LP somebody gave me. I still have the LP and it is a treasure, and I can't imagine (now at age 79) - my life without Ray Charles. You have helped me in so many ways to make it through the times. You are in good company now - dear Charles - "Come Rain or Come Shine"-!
Lya Wagner, USA
I will always remember watching The Tube in the 80s. Jools Holland introduced Ray Charles to this teenager at the time. It opened my ears and mind to the power of music, thank you Ray Charles for the happy and everlasting memories and music.
Ray Charles was a musical genius. He was also a very caring and compassionate man who cared about the welfare of all men. Colour was never an issues everybody was equal in his eyes. We will miss this musical giant, and I can still hear him singing God bless America! God bless you Ray as you enter into eternal rest. Your legacy will be well remembered.
Jef Jordan, United States
Ray Charles had the gift to make stories come alive. Even the most basic song lyric sounded real and full of texture when he sang it. The emotional spectrum ranged from the most outrages joy to the darkest grief. Even though I was born after the height of his career his music spoke to me. I think he's a true classic and a timeless performer. I thank him for the pleasure he gave me and the comfort in times of grief. Ray Charles will live forever. And we will be there to celebrate his live.
Hello to you all, sad news for the one who loved that man, I was one of them. Raymond impressed me so much at that time (1959) that I want to understand him better. He was the one that made me decide to learn English. Today I am myself 59 years old. I thank that man for all he gave me. How to explain love? So Raymond I hope that today you rest in peace. God bless you.
Teste JC, France
All Georgians will dearly miss Ray. Thanks for all the wonderful free shows in your beloved home.
HJ Endicott, Georgia, USA
I've been your fan for these 25 years and I will be for the rest of my life. Ray, thank you, you gave me a lot and your music will give me more and more. Rest in peace.
I loved his voice, his music and his performance. It's crying time again you gonnna leave us. RIP. You've made your mark.
Antoinette Adjei, Ghana
Just listen to Joe Cocker, and Michael Bolton and you will discover the tremendous influence that he left to the music. I remember him in a concert in my own town (Pueblo, Mexico) when I felt his enormous emotional load - I saw beside me oh my God many people, mostly women crying. I will remember him.
Ricardo Rdoriguez, Mexico
I once noticed him in 1985 and since then, I wondered what a legend he is. I have always been inspired by his performances on the keyboard. He was just simply good. He put all his guts in his performance to make one value much the money spent for his shows. He was just a great guy. Adiu Charles!
Opara Victor, Nigerian in Estonia
We won't forget about him. He is the greatest musician, now I'm listening to his CDs and I still can't believe, that he's gone. But as he said - he was born with his music, and he'll always live in his tunes. Every night and every day, you can hear me say, baby won't you please come home.
Daniel Starski, Poland
What an inspiration he was... great man, great entertainer, rest in peace.
Sufyan, Doha, Qatar
What is there to say? It's Cryin' Time Again!
Tamaal Ghosh, New Zealand
He was a singer whose concert I wish I had attended. Good voice. Voice of the blues.
I too was born in Albany, Georgia, where people are proud to be connected to such an amazing talent. I now work in Afghanistan, where Ray Charles' soulful voice keeps me company the whole day through and keeps Georgia On My Mind. God Bless You Ray Charles. Thanks for my favourite song, and keep the angels swinging.
Shireen Khan, Afghanistan
I am a 58 year old Black man who was born and grew up in the segregated south. I never felt included in We the people until I heard Mr Ray Charles Robinson's rendition of America The Beautiful. It was then that my sense of ownership and pride in my country was completed. I have managed to collect and cherish every album he ever released (except one) but it is because of a message from the people that I and my posterity shall be eternally grateful to The Genius.
Willie Dirden, USA
The music of Ray Charles has touched many and will continue to delight music fans for years to come. His wide appeal is illustrated by the fact that I am a huge admirer of his work. I am a 16 year old Bangladeshi and never really saw Ray Charles in his prime yet he is still one of my musical idols and his music and story will always be a source of great admiration. Thank you Mr Charles. You made music beautiful.
Sameed Quasem, Bangladesh
If Ray were here reading all these comments, I think he would quote these lines from Pablo Neruda: I want what I love to continue to live... so that everything can learn the reason for my song. God bless you, Ray.
Celine Yong, Malaysia
I am an avid collector of music and I have seen many of the greatest live, but no one like Ray Charles. I have never seen anyone who felt the music like Ray - literally - felt the music. Ray could do no wrong musically and his soul and rhythm was unmatched. He just blew me away! I love the man, seriously. Ray, my man, I will never get tire of playing your music no matter what styles come and go. You do it for me!
Raymond Matis, United States
Ray Charles a great musician and an unbelievable spirit who survived many personal tragedies from an early age. He will be missed and will stay in our hearts for a long time. Thank you Mr Charles for your contributions to our music and our lives.
Marija Filipovic, Canada
I live in New York City and I've seen him at Concerts in Central Park. All I can say is that he gave me goose bumps whenever he sang. I will miss him very much.
Winston Taylor, United States
A true gentleman who lived his music has passed on. I played with Mr Charles in 1967, he was a compassionate delight. So long, Ray
Peter Brown, San Jose, USA
Although he has left this world, his music will remain forever. I hope we'll meet on the other side.
Ray Charles is an absolute legend and an inspiration to mankind. He overcame enormous adversities to reach the status of musical giant. His sweet voice and spirit will live on forever. He crossed several musical genres and was master of all. A great musician and despite the fact that he was blind a fantastic chess player, a genius. I adore America The Beautiful and I Can't Stop Loving you. Your soul made all our lives richer and you will always be a personal hero of mine. Rest in peace Brother Ray.
Robert Maher, UK
I seen ray in 1963, and then again in 1998, just like a good bottle of wine gets better, with age. Will be sadly be missed, but the genius will live on. God bless you Ray.
Chad Bradley, England
He was one of the greatest, coolest musicians of all time. You will be remembered, Soul Brother, that's for sure!
Shake a Tail Feather - guaranteed to get you on your feet. He was an amazing musician and greatly inspirational. I wish I could have seen him live before his death. His music is timeless however, and will be enjoyed for years to come.
Andy Smith, Bolivia
Ray's rendition of America the Beautiful would make even an America-hater from Y'urp love this country. He was called The Genius and that he was, managing to appeal to audiences from a theatre full of elderly and middle-aged people in Alberta to jazz clubs all over the world. We'll miss you Ray.
This is a great loss to music lovers everywhere. Ray Charles was a great musician whose music truly defines the meaning of soul music. My sincerest condolence to his family.
Evelyn Harding, USA
As a black and American his music truly transcended what had separated us. He could not be pegged. He gave fits to those that needed to categorize. No matter how difficult times were the music of Ray Charles was there. Thank you Ray Charles. We are fortunate your music lives on.
Raven Reed, USA
I have worked as an interpreter for many international artists while performing in Brazil and I had the great pleasure to work closely with Ray Charles in two of his visits to my country. He was by far one of the kindest artists I have ever worked with.
Regina Bortolon, Brazil
I was just talking to my other half about Ray Charles on Wednesday night and saying that he was still in fine fettle. Maybe he is wherever he is; in the meantime, it's a sad loss for the rest of us.
Catherine O, UK
I extend my deepest condolences to the family of this courageous and persistent man. Ray Charles was a brilliant musician and he shall be remembered through his splendid music.
Shahram Eisa-Beygi, Iran
Thanks, Ray. I bought your LPs, I came to watch you live over four decades; more than anything, you moved me. I tell ya Granny won't be grinnin this day! Sleep in peace.
Andrew Watson, England
Saw him in Glasgow a few years back as part of BBC Music Live. It was fantastic. He and his music will be sadly missed. When someone so talented leaves us it diminishes us all.
Rob Forrest, Preston, UK
One of the greatest and a true gentleman of music. He will be sorely missed, but his music and influence will live on forever.
Butty, Maldon, UK
What'd I Say. What can you say? Rock and roll, soul, gospel and blues. All of them. Ray Charles was all of the music that we have come to know as Rock. A founder. A legend.
Julian Moseley, UK
Great man, great music. Yet another great goes to the heavenly choir - you will be missed but your music lives on.
Barry Mellish, England
One of my favourites died. Georgia on my mind. We play it nearly every time we play with our band. Now this song will get another dimension. We wish you all the best in your new life.
Bart Robbrecht, Belgium
I was fortunate enough to see him in concert four times in the Eighties. Thanks for the music, Ray.
Jim Elder, UK
I'm a piano player, and the first two people who influenced me were Fats Domino and Ray Charles. Some people do covers of popular numbers, but Ray did INTREPRETATIONS of these songs. He was one of the greatest pianists/organists America ever saw, and his music is timeless. He has been so influential to me. I'll never forget him and his magnificent work.
Steven C. Harwood, America
Johnny Cash and now the great Ray Charles. Their music will be their lasting memorial.
He was a true American. I first saw him in Blues Brothers and have loved his music forever since. It is such a sad thing.
Ben Catchpole, UK
There will never be someone like Ray. You will be greatly missed.
Such a sad loss - I'll always remember him for "Georgia On My Mind" - but his legacy will live on through such inspirational music.
Tom Hourigan, United Kingdom
The first song I ever loved was Take These Chains From My Heart - I was three years old - I'm more than half way to heaven and still love his music.
Steve Wilkinson, UK
I saw Ray Charles at the Montreal Jazz Festival in July, 2003 and I'm so glad I did.. We just lost another giant. May he rest in peace.
Martine Boyer, Canada
Ray Charles was part of my youth. Ray I loved you dearly, rest in peace.
Julia Balmer, UK
He was wonderful and an inspiration!
What more can I say...
Elise Benjamin, UK
He was truly one of the greats. Songs like "Drown in my own tears" and "Hallelujah how I love her so" are some of my favourites.
Tomos Rees, Wales
One of the "great" entertainers of the 20th century, he will be sorely missed.
John Taylor, England
One of the best musicians. His music influenced not only American music but also the rest of the world. May you rest in peace! Your music will live forever.
God Bless you Ray for many years of inspiring music! You will be missed!
Jenna, Texas, USA
Hit the road, Jack!! Your music will live on.
Octave Moumpala, France
I saw Mr Charles when I was 15 and it was amazing then, now and forever...Thanks Ray and rest in peace
Penelope, Canary Islands
I remember travelling 200 miles from Manchester to London just to buy a Ray Charles record (in the 60s). I would still have gone had it been a thousand. Great singer, great voice, great man. The heavenly choir will have some competition tonight.
Jack, South Africa.
I remember first listening to Ray Charles in the late 50s when I was a little kid. I still dug his sound as a teenager in the late 60s and early 70s. As an adult, I found his music to be sophisticated and engrossing. Musical styles have changed over the decades, but his sound is both timeless and international. He was a musician of the world, a brilliant artist, and a wonderful ambassador for America. He represented what was best in us, willing to share his gift with all who would listen.
Michael Harley, USA
I never heard him complain about or even much mention his loss of sight. What an inspiration to people with disabilities all over the world! What a truly great talent...he will be missed by all of us fans.
Lance Alexander, Michigan, U.S.A.
Ray had an incredible impact upon my life. I first saw him at the Hammersmith Odeon in about 1964 when I was 16. I went with a friend and we were so stunned we came right out and bought tickets for the following weekend. I'll never forget him being led out, rocking back and forth as he played the saxophone (yes that's right), attacked the piano keys, and that voice... Thanks Ray, I'm devastated tonight.
David Jones, UK
Ray Charles was one of the most inspirational entertainers ever. He could sing it all, the blues, country, and rock. He did it all with class, grace and soul. He will be truly missed. God bless you Ray.
Don Finger, USA
God Bless tio Ray!
"What I'd say" is one of the greatest Mod anthems ever!!
I shall be listening to you whilst weaving around Barcelona's streets tomorrow on my Vespa.
Professor Pringat, Catalonia
Only just watched The Blues Brothers the other day, my three young sons were bopping round the room to Shake Your Tail Feather, Another legend gone to the big music jam in the sky. We'll miss you Ray.
Richard Matthews, UK
I questioned my first love relationship with 'Am I Blue'. If I could only find advice like that for the rest of my life's problems. Thank you for helping me how to respect other people.
David J.W. Dawson, Canada
I took music for 7 years and my parents would not let me play the blues so I quit. All I wanted to do was play like Ray. I was 13 years old, now I am 63. He is the only musician I have ever loved. When me made "What I Say" I was 16 years old, I will never forget it. He could grunt and I would know it was Ray. I am really sad by his death. May God bless his family and all of us. We have lost a great one.
Bettye King, USA
Ray Charles is one of the primary icons of American culture. If there were a Mt. Rushmore for popular music, it would feature Elvis Presley, James Brown, Johnny Cash and Ray Charles. We are better for having known him.
Tom Roedel, USA
The world has lost such a talent...
I was 10, did not know a word in English but I knew "Georgia" by heart.
He sang so clearly from the heart that when he came to the line "Take these tears from my eyes and let me see" people in the audience would suddenly burst into tears.
Dave Smith, New Zealand