Solomon Burke was one of the most influential singers in the history of soul music, blending gospel, rhythm and blues, country, and rock and roll into a unique and powerful style. He had a string of hits in the 1960s, such as “Cry to Me”, “If You Need Me”, “Got to Get You Off My Mind”, and “Everybody Needs Somebody to Love”. He was also a preacher, a businessman, a humanitarian, and a father of 21 children. He was known as the King of Rock ‘n’ Soul, the Bishop of Soul, and the Muhammad Ali of soul.
But how did this legendary artist die? What was the cause of his death? And what legacy did he leave behind? In this article, we will explore these questions and more.
The Final Flight
Solomon Burke died on October 10, 2010, at the age of 70. He was on a flight from Los Angeles to Amsterdam, where he was scheduled to perform at a well-known club on October 12. He had been suffering from diabetes, arthritis, and other health problems for years, and had to use a wheelchair and oxygen tanks. He also weighed over 300 pounds at the time of his death.
According to his family, he died of natural causes at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport. His daughter Candice told the Associated Press that he passed away peacefully in his sleep. She said: “He was on his way to spread his message of love as he loved to do.”
His body was taken to a Dutch morgue, where an autopsy was performed. The results confirmed that he died of natural causes, and no further investigation was needed. His family decided to cremate his remains and scatter them over the world, as he had wished
The Musical Legacy
Solomon Burke left behind a rich and diverse musical legacy that spanned over five decades. He recorded over 40 albums and had over 30 singles that charted in the US. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001, and won a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Blues Album in 2003 for his album Don’t Give Up on Me, which featured songs written by Bob Dylan, Tom Waits, Van Morrison, and others. He also collaborated with artists such as De Dijk, Ben Harper, Eric Clapton, and The Blind Boys of Alabama.
He influenced many musicians across genres, such as The Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Costello, U2, Aretha Franklin, Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett, James Brown, and The Blues Brothers. Rolling Stone ranked him as No. 89 on its list of 100 Greatest Singers of All Time in 2008
He was also known for his charismatic and energetic live performances, where he would interact with the audience, hand out roses to women, and preach his message of love and faith. He often performed while sitting on a throne or a couch on stage, due to his weight and health issues. He once said: I don’t want people to see me as just an entertainer. I want them to see me as a human being who cares about them.
The Final Words
Solomon Burke’s final words were recorded on his website shortly before his death. He wrote: “Hello everyone! I’m getting ready for my flight tomorrow morning at 6:30 am from LAX to Amsterdam! I’m so excited about this tour! I’m looking forward to seeing all my fans there! I love you all! God bless yo
He also posted a video message on YouTube, where he thanked his fans for their support and expressed his excitement about his upcoming shows. He said: “I’m looking forward to seeing you all there! It’s going to be wonderful! It’s going to be great! It’s going to be fantastic! It’s going to be awesome!