Recently diagnosed with pancreatic cancer
Billy Paul, the soul singer best known for hit single ‘Me and Mrs Jones’, has died aged 81.
Paul had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and died at his home in Blackwood, New Jersey, according to manager Beverly Gay.
‘Me and Mrs Jones’ was released in 1972 and achieved success in both the US and the UK. The song was written by songwriting duo Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff, who paid tribute to Paul in a statement released yesterday.
The duo stated that Paul’s voice made him “one of the great artists to come out of Philly and to be celebrated worldwide” and added: “Our proudest moment with Billy was the recording of the salacious smash ‘Me and Mrs Jones’. In our view, it is one of the greatest love songs ever recorded.”
Gamble and Huff wrote and produced albums including ‘Ebony Woman’ and ‘Going East,’ for Paul before the success of ‘Me and Mrs Jones’.
Later in his career Paul sued Gamble and Huff and other industry officials over unpaid royalties. He was awarded $500,000 (£350,000) by a Los Angeles jury in 2003.
Paul continued to perform live until he fell ill and his manager has said that she was booking dates for future performances when he passed away.
Paul is survived by his wife, Blanche Williams, with whom he had two children.
Martha Reeves, the Motown singer, was among those who paid tribute on social media.