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http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/6208615.stm

Soul star James Brown dies at 73

Brown was "a gifted genius when it came to music", his agent said

Singer James Brown, known as the "Godfather of Soul", has died at the age of 73, his agent has said.

He was admitted to hospital in Atlanta after being diagnosed with severe pneumonia but died at 0145 local time (0645 GMT), said Frank Copsidas.

The star was famous for hits including I Got You (I Feel Good), Papa's Got a Brand New Bag and Living in America.

"He is such an influence, I learned so much from him," Mr Copsidas told the BBC World Service.

"On Friday he had his toy giveaway, which is his annual toy giveaway in Augusta, Georgia.

"On Saturday, he went to his dentist up in Atlanta, and his dentist told him something was wrong, and he sent him to a doctor immediately."

Gospel roots

Brown was born in 1933 in South Carolina.

Brown's songs have been widely sampled by other artists

Obituary: James Brown

He joined a gospel group as a young man after his release from jail for trying to steal a car.

He had his first hit on the US rhythm and blues chart, Please Please Please, in 1956.

Brown had 94 hits on Billboard's mainstream Hot 100 in the US, according to his official website, and by the end of his career, he had a total repertoire of 800 songs.

However, he achieved only one top 10 single in the UK.

This was Living in America, from the soundtrack of the Sylvester Stallone film Rocky IV, which reached number five in 1986.

High-speed chase

Two years later, however, Brown returned to prison, convicted of aggravated assault and failing to stop for a police officer.

This followed a high-speed car chase through Georgia and South Carolina, which ended when police shot the tyres of his truck.

Brown won the Award of Merit at the American Music Awards in 1992

The star was credited with spreading the popularity of funk around the world, influencing a new generation of black music which spawned rap and hip-hop.

Brown, who had surgery for prostate cancer in 2004, appeared in London in October as part of the BBC's Electric Proms line-up.

At the time, he described how he planned to carry on as a performer, saying: "Everyone's got soul, whether it's talking, hip-hop, rap, gospel.

"We've gotta just stay with whatever we do.

"I don't wanna change, because then I'd have to name myself Sam Smith or Ted Wright or somebody. I'm going to be James Brown."

Last month Brown played at a ceremony at London's Alexandra Palace which saw his induction into the UK Music Hall of Fame, 20 years after entering the US equivalent.

*bows head*

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