Former Drifters singer turned solo star died of natural causes, publicist confirms
Ben E King, the soul singer best known for the classic song ‘Stand By Me’, has died at the age of 76.
King’s publicist confirmed to The Telegraph that he died of natural causes on Thursday (April 30).
Starting his career in the late 1950s with The Drifters, King went on to sing on hits including ‘There Goes My Baby’ and ‘Save The Last Dance For Me’ before going solo and achieving success on his own terms with the 1961 hit ‘Stand By Me’. The song went to Number One in the UK in 1986 after it was used on the soundtrack to the classic coming of age film of the same name.
John Lennon and Spyder Turner are among the artists who have covered ‘Stand By Me’ since its original release and the song was added to the National Recording Registry by the US Library of Congress.
King’s close friend Gary US Bonds wrote on Facebook that King was “one of the sweetest, gentlest and gifted souls that I have had the privilege of knowing and calling my friend for more than 50 years”.
He added: “I can tell you that Ben E will be missed more than words can say. Our sincere condolences go out to Betty and the entire family. Thank you Ben E for your friendship and the wonderful legacy you leave behind.”
King toured the UK as recently as 2013 and released his final album, ‘Love Is Gonna Get You’, in 2007. In later life King also established the non-profit organisation The Ben E King Stand By Me Foundation.