Soul singer Charles Bradley died Saturday at age 68 after a long bout with cancer.
“It is with a heavy heart that we announce the passing of Charles Bradley,” his rep said in a statement to Rolling Stone. “Always a fighter, Charles battled cancer with everything he had. He was diagnosed with stomach cancer in the fall of 2016 and underwent treatment. Bradley headed out on the road earlier this year after receiving a clean bill of health but the cancer recently returned, spreading to his liver.”
Bradley, known as the “Screaming Eagle of Soul” for his impassioned performances, famously found musical success late in life. He released his debut album “No Time For Dreaming” in 2011. Bradley’s life, including years of struggling with poverty and homelessness, was the subject of the 2012 documentary “Charles Bradley: Soul of America.”
Bradley was born in Gainesville, Florida, in 1948 and was raised by his grandmother until the age of 8, when his mother brought him to Brooklyn, New York. He ran away as a teenager, living intermittently on the streets and at friends’ homes for a couple of years before enlisting in the Job Corps. From there, he spent 10 years working in Maine as a cook, then went on to live and work in various places around the U.S. and in Canada before ultimately moving back to Brooklyn.
Though Bradley had been performing music for decades — largely James Brown covers — prior to his 2011 album, “No Time for Dreaming” launched him to fame and landed on Rolling Stone’s list of top 50 albums of 2011.
Bradley began to tour worldwide, and went on to release two more albums, 2013’s “Victim of Love,” and 2016’s “Changes.” He was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding On-Camera Musical Performance in a Daytime Program after performing on “CBS This Morning: Saturday” last year.
The musician had to cancel several tour dates earlier this year due to his illness. When he did so, he expressed love on Twitter for those who made his “dreams come true.”