Celebrities took to social media to pay tribute to Grammy award-winning singer James Ingram who died at the age of 66 after secretly battling brain cancer.
Legendary R&B singer and songwriter James Ingram has died at the age of 66. News reports have confirmed the singer succumbed to brain cancer after secretly battling it for quite some time.
The news was first shared by his good friend, Debbie Allen, who took to her social media to pay tribute to him.
“I have lost my dearest friend and creative partner James Ingram to the Celestial Choir,” she wrote.
“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 was noticeably absent during a tribute concert for Quincy Jones in September prompting Patti Austin to perform their #1 duet, “Baby Come To Me” without him. It was not clear then why he was unable to make to it to the event. Now it appears he may have been dealing with his sickness at the time.
Ingram led a stellar career that began in the 70’s and earned him two Grammys along with several chart-toppers in the 80’s. Among them, “Baby Come to Me,” “Somewhere Out There,” “100 Ways,” and “Just Once.”
The R&B singer also made history as the first artist to open the Grammys with a ballad, his song “Just Once.” Likewise, he’s the only artist to win a Grammy without an album in release.
Ingram’s Grammy awards include 1981’s best male R&B performance for “100 Ways” and 1984’s best R&B duo or group with vocals for “Yah Mo Be There,” a collaboration with Michael McDonald.
More than a singer, he was also a songwriter who collaborated with artists Quincy Jones, Michael Jackson, the Pointer Sisters, George Benson, Ray Charles, and Shalamar.
Celebrities who revered Ingram paid their respects on social media. In a statement sent to Billboard, Jones wrote,
“There are no words to convey how much my heart aches with the news of the passing of my baby brother James Ingram. With that soulful, whisky sounding voice, James Ingram was simply magical.
“From the minute I first heard his voice on the demo tape for 'Just Once,' to 'One Hundred Ways,' his classic duet with Patti Austin 'How Do You Keep the Music Playing,' 'Secret Garden,' 'We Are the World,' and all of our recordings, every beautiful note that James sang pierced your essence and comfortably made itself at home.
“But it was really no surprise because James was a beautiful human being, with a heart the size of the moon. James Ingram was, and always will be, beyond compare. Rest In Peace baby brother. You will be in my heart forever.”
Producer Shonda Rhimes was saddened by the loss of “a genius” and remembered the singer as “a musician, artist, and humanitarian” as well as for his “brilliance and kind heart.”
Singer Jody Watley recalled the first time she met Ingram.
“So saddened to hear this. First met James when I was in Shalamar, he played on “Friends” album and co-wrote on another. Such a talent vocally and musically, a family man, witty and wise. My condolences to his family and friends”
Richard Marx also shared some fond memories with the late singer.
“RIP sweet James Ingram. Hearing your voice sing words and notes I made up is a gift I will cherish always. And I will never forget the laughs.”
Magic Johnson, Clay Aiken, Kim Fields and Holly Robinson Peete were also among those who tweeted their sorrow.