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The self-proclaimed King of Rock and Soul Solomon Burke died on Sunday at age 70 as he embarked on a sold-out tour in Amsterdam with the Dutch band De Dijk.

One of the trailblazers of a yet-to-be-named R&B genre, Burke’s songs were covered by giants of blues and rock & roll, including the Rolling Stones, Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding, Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty.

He was inducted in to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2003 – an honor that was long overdue.His family confirmed that he died from natural causes as he sat on an airplane at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport. Married 3 times, he is survived by 21 children and 90 grandchildren.

On his website, he describes how deeply his roots are steeped in gospel music:
Gospel was part of my total career, not just something I started with, but something I live with, as my foundation and rock. I grew up a normal black kid in the ghetto, exposed to all kinds of music that influenced me as a songwriter and recording artist. I loved country, big band, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Perry Como, Doris Day, Gene Autry, Ray Charles,Dinah Washington, Roy Rogers — all of whom in some way inspired me to reach my goal of doing something extraordinary with my life that would connect with people.

Though he had an expansive career as a soul singer, his heart remained in the church, and he also served as a preacher and began his music career hosting a gospel radio show.

Read the full story here.

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