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Ben E. King dead at age 76

The singer came to fame with R&B vocal group the Drifters in the late 1950s.

By Annie Martin
Ben E. King dead at age 76
Ben E. King died Thursday at the age of 76. Randy Miramontez / Shutterstock.com

NEW YORK, May 1 (UPI) -- Ben E. King died at age 76 on Thursday.

The famed soul and R&B singer's publicist told The Telegraph the star died of natural causes. King was thought to be in good health, and performed in both the U.S. and U.K. in the past two years.

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King was born in Henderson, N.C., in September 1938, and came to fame with R&B vocal group the Drifters in the late 1950s. The group released such hits as "There Goes My Baby" and "This Magic Moment" before King embarked on a solo career.

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The singer released his best known single, "Stand by Me," as a solo artist in 1961. The track peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard 100, and returned to the charts at No. 9 after it was used as the theme song for Rob Reiner's 1986 film of the same name.

Musician Gary U.S. Bonds reacted to King's death on Facebook, writing, "With an extremely heavy heart, I must say goodbye to 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."

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