James Ingram
**FILE** R&B Singer James Ingram performs on 'The Hippest Trip At Sea' Soul Train Cruise on February 26, 2015 during a cruise that departs from Fort Lauderdale, Florica and travels to Turks & Caicos Islands, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands and the Bahamas. (Earl Gibson III/WireImage)

James Ingram, a Grammy-winning R&B singer-songwriter whose silky baritone graced numerous hits through the 1980s, has died. He was 66.

His death was announced Tuesday afternoon by his close friend, actress and choreographer Debbie Allen. She did not specify a time or cause of death, though TMZ reported that the singer had a form of brain cancer and had been ill for some time.

“I have lost my dearest friend and creative partner James Ingram to the Celestial Choir,” Allen tweeted. “He will always be cherished, loved and remembered for his genius, his love of family and his humanity. I am blessed to have been so close. We will forever speak his name.”

Ingram began playing music as a young boy. In the 1970s, he performed in a band called Revolution Funk before pursuing a solo career in Los Angeles. He received his big break when Quincy Jones discovered an Ingram demo and invited him to guest on several songs for his hit 1981 album “The Dude,” including the Grammy-winning “One Hundred Ways.”

The soul crooner earned eight Top 40 hits during his career and snared multiple Oscar and Golden Globe nominations. His 1982 single with Patti Austin, “Baby, Come to Me,” popularized by the soap opera “General Hospital,” went to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Another collaboration with Austin for the film “Best Friends,” “How Do You Keep the Music Playing,” was nominated for Best Original Song at the 1983 Academy Awards.

He later worked with such revered artists as Ray Charles, Marvin Gaye and Barry White.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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