R&B singer Billy Scott (real name: Peter Pendleton) has died at the age of 70, following a brief battle with liver and pancreatic cancer. Best known for his beach musical hits such as “I Got the Fever” and “California,” Scott will also be remembered as a champion of his beloved genre.
At the time of his death, Scott was working with Charlotte, N.C.’s booster clubs to bring beach music to local schools. From the Examiner:
Beach Music Association International’s president Harry Turner revealed that Billy Scott’s illness came about suddenly, and just within the past couple of weeks.
Billy Scott just celebrated his 70th birthday on Oct. 5, and was described to have been in good health and spirits on his birthday, but a few days later he became ill, complaining of stomach pains that continued to worsen for the singer. Scott’s health was so rapidly declining that he was forced to back out of an appearance at the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Oct. 11.
Scott’s health issues became so worrisome for the singer that he eventually checked himself into a Charlotte hospital and tests determined he had liver and pancreatic cancer.
“It was unbelievable. I’ve never seen a cancer move so fast,” Turner said.
He saw Scott for the last time Thursday night. Despite his deteriorating health and weight loss, Turner said his friend was in high spirits.
“He was one of the most amazing people you’ll ever be around,” Turner said.
Billy Scott was originally from Huntington, W. Va. and raised on a musical diet of rhythm and blues and soul. In his early career as a member of The Scottsmen and various incarnations of The Prophets, he was labeled an R&B singer.