Percy Sledge, the R&B artist whose biggest hit, “When a Man Loves a Woman,” became a cornerstone of soul music and anthem for countless movies, died Tuesday. He was 74.
Sledge died in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, said Stephanie Price of the East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner’s Office. The cause of death wasn’t immediately available.
His career started in the 1960s with a number of hits, including “Take Time to Know Her,” “Warm and Tender Love” and “It Tears Me Up.”
But his first and biggest hit, “When a Man Loves a Woman,” rose above them all. Written about a former girlfriend, he told insiders the powerhouse song was taken from a tune he used to sing as a boy.
“I hummed it all my life, even when I was picking and chopping cotton in the fields,” he told the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.