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Grammy-winning soul legend, James Ingram, dies at 66



James Ingram, a Grammy winner known for his soulful R&B hits, has died , his friends and colleagues said Tuesday. He was 66 years old .“ I have lost my dearest friend and creative partner James Ingram to the Celestial Choir , ” performer Debbie Allen tweeted . “ He will always be cherished, loved and remembered for his genius , his love of family and his humanity. ”

A native of the US state of Ohio, Ingram launched his music career with the band Revelation Funk and later played keyboard for soul pioneer Ray Charles .

His rise to fame came after he lent his smooth vocals to the songs “ Just Once” and “ One Hundred Ways ” on an album recorded by industry legend Quincy Jones.

Ingram earned three Grammy nominations for the works , including Best New Artist , winning for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance in 1981 .

With Jones, he also co – wrote Michael Jackson’ s hit “ P . Y . T . ( Pretty Young Thing ) . ”

“ There are no words to convey how much my < 3 aches , ” tweeted Jones. “ With that soulful , whisky sounding voice , James was simply magical . ”

“ He was , & always will be , beyond compare . ”

Over his career , Ingram was nominated for 14 Grammys along with two Golden Globes and two Oscars , one for his duet with singer Patti Austin , “ How Do you Keep the Music Playing ?” that was featured in the movie “ Best Friends . ”

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Ingram also joined singer Linda Ronstadt to perform the song “ Somewhere Out There” from the 1986 animated musical adventure film “ An American Tail , ” which sees a family of Jewish Russian mice flee to the United States .

He also collaborated with high- profile artists including Donna Summer , Viktor Lazlo and Natalie Cole .

“ Ingram ’ s rich voice and masterful songwriting has made a lasting impact on the music industry, ” the Recording Academy , the organization behind the Grammys, said in a statement . “ Our thoughts go out to his loved ones during this difficult time . ”