Los Angeles: James Ingram, a Grammy winner known for his soulful R&B hits, has died in Los Angeles, 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. I am blessed to have been so close. We will forever speak his name.”
The Grammy-winner and Oscar-nominee had two US number ones, with the smooth soul ballads Baby Come To Me (1986) and I Don’t Have The Heart (1990).
He also co-wrote Michael Jackson’s PYT with Quincy Jones.
Grey’s Anatomy actress and friend Debbie Allen announced his death on Twitter, saying she was “blessed to have been so close” to him.
In a statement, music producer Jones said: “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.”
There are no words to convey how much my ❤️ aches with the news of the passing of my baby brother, James Ingram. With that soulful, whisky sounding voice, James was simply magical. He was, & always will be, beyond compare. Rest In Peace my baby bro…You’ll be in my ❤️ forever — Quincy Jones (@QuincyDJones)
Ingram had repotedly been suffering from brain cancer.
Born in Ohio in 1952, Ingram later moved to Los Angeles and began his career with the band Revelation Funk. He also played keyboards for Ray Charles before his own musical career took off.
He performed vocals on Quincy Jones’ 1981 album The Dude and won the Best Male R&B Vocal Performance Grammy for the song One Hundred Ways the following year, when he was also nominated for Best New Artist.
There are no words to convey how much my ❤️ aches with the news of the passing of my baby brother, James Ingram. With that soulful, whisky sounding voice, James was simply magical. He was, & always will be, beyond compare. Rest In Peace my baby bro…You’ll be in my ❤️ forever— Quincy Jones (@QuincyDJones) January 29, 2019
Ingram won his second Grammy for the song Yah Mo B There which he sang with Michael McDonald – but in the UK, he was best known for Somewhere Out There, a duet with Linda Ronstadt from the children’s film An American Tail.
The track reached number eight in 1987 – his only UK top 10 hit – and went on to beat U2’s I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For to win best song at the 1988 Grammys.
However, his solo albums failed to match the success of his duets; and he stopped releasing new albums in the early 1990s, turning his attention to film soundtracks, with great success.
Ingram received Oscar nominations in 1994 and 1995 for The Day I Fall In Love, a duet with Dolly Parton from Beethoven’s 2nd, and Look What Love Has Done, from the Arnold Schwarzenegger comedy Junior.
In recent years, he had largely stepped away from music, with the exception of the 2008 gospel album Stand (in the Light), which was produced by Jones.
His survivors include his wife, Debra, to whom he had been married since 1975.
Tributes from fans and friends have been posted on social media.
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 ??✨? Rest in Heaven James Ingram. — Jody Watley (@jodywatley) January 29, 2019
2-time Grammy winning soul legend James Ingram passes away today. RIP my friend. — Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) January 29, 2019
RIP the great James Ingram, a vocalist all vocalists looked up to — josh groban (@joshgroban) January 29, 2019
“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.”