Soul singer Charles Bradley has died at 68, his publicist said in a statement today. Bradley died in Brooklyn after his cancer returned and spread to his liver.
"It is with a heavy heart that we announce the passing of Charles Bradley," his publicist said in a statement. "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 was born in Florida in 1948 and raised in Brooklyn starting at the age of eight. In 1962, his sister took Bradley to see James Brown at the Apollo Theater, which led to Bradley's admiration and fascination with the singer. He would use a broom to mimic Brown at home. The soul singer left his home at 14 and slept in subway cars for two years. After working as a chef and other odd jobs for more than three decades, Bradley returned to New York in the mid-1990s and worked as a James Brown impersonator named "Black Velvet."
He was eventually discovered by Daptone Records co-founder, Gabriel Roth. Bradley began working with Tom Brenneck, and would ask the band to perform while he would make up lyrics. In 2002, Daptone started to release his singles.
In 2011, at 62, Bradley released No Time for Dreaming, his debut album, on Daptone Records. In 2012 he was the subject of a documentary, Soul of America, which chronicled his hardships and life. He then released Victim of Love in 2013 and Changes, his last record, in 2016.
Most recently, Bradley, who's known for his lively performances, announced in May that he would tour North America in the summer and fall, which included New York's Governor's Ball: