Rick James dies in LA...

RICK JAMES has died in LA at the age of 56.

The Motown funk legend, perhaps most famous in the UK for his early ‘80s album ’Street Songs’ and its subsequent hit ’Super Freak’, died yesterday morning (August 6) in his sleep.

He is survived by his 3 children and 2 grandchildren.

James is considered a peer of James Brown and Sly Stone. Nicknamed the Super Freak because of his hit of the same name, the song was later sampled by MC Hammer on the single ’U Can’t Touch This’.

A statement has been issued, which reads:

“Rick James passed away this morning at 9:20 AM in his sleep of natural causes at his Los Angeles home.

“Last month, he performed his hit ‘Fire & Desire’ with Teena Marie at the BET Awards. He had finished an album and was preparing for its release next year. He was also in discussion with various studios for a movie based on his life.

“Born in Buffalo, NY, known as the King of Punk Funk, and the bad boy of Motown, Rick James blended the hard core funk of his predecessors with the Rock and Roll theatrics of the Rolling Stones and Kiss.

“Rick James was the quintessential ‘Super Freak’, a term he coined in the 1980’s with the multi-platinum song he wrote, arranged, produced and performed sharing that same title.

“He licensed his work for sampling by artists such as Mary J. Blige, Erykah Badu and MC Hammer, whose sample of ’Super Freak’ for the hit single ’U Can’t Touch This’ made ’Please Hammer, Don’t Hurt ‘Em’ the biggest selling rap album in history.”

Throughout his career he received numerous Grammy nominations and sold millions of records. However, his personal life was more troubled. The star spent time in jail for assault, and had a documented history of drug problems.

Details on the funeral will be announced shortly.