James Brown's death yesterday, to many, was more than a loss of "the hardest working man in show business". Reverend Al Sharpton, who toured with him in the 70s and will lead his funeral services, says Brown was the father he never had. On top of that Brown also helped Sharpton become a civil rights leader, after Brown's son (a friend of Sharpton's) died in a car accident.

Sharpton stated yesterday to a crowd at the National Action Network's House of Justice that Brown "knew that I came out of a one-parent home, and he became my father, and I became like his son." And who else would be responsible for Sharpton's unusual hair? Brown took him to his personal stylist prior to a trip to the White House to meet President Reagan. Sharpton stated, "When we got on the plane headed for Washington, he said, 'Don't change your hair like that until I die'."

In 2005 James Brown was given a statue in Georgia, which he unveiled with Sharpton by his side (pictured).

Reverend Jesse Jackson, who has been friends with Brown since 1955, says his passing on Christmas Day is "almost a dramatic, poetic moment. He’ll be all over the news all over the world today — he would have it no other way."

There are many tributes up around the internet on the death of this performer, even Quiet Riot Drummer Frankie Banali has written a little something.

Brown is survived by his (fourth) wife (though the marriage was null), Tomi Rae Brown, and their 5 year old son. In 2004 he threatened to kill Tomi Rae in a dispute in which he threw her to the ground. She is currently barred from their mansion in South Carolina.

If you want to learn more about the man himself, in 1996 his autobiography titled Doin' It to Death came out.

Photo via The Augusta Chronicle.