Ben E. King, the soul singer known for big hits like “Stand by Me,” has died of natural causes, according to his agent, who spoke to The Telegraph. The North Carolina-born singer was 76 years old.
After he went solo, his classic hit “Stand by Me” reached No. 4 on the Billboard charts in 1961. It returned to the charts in the 1980s after being featured in the classic film of the same name. It has been covered by such renowned artists as John Lennon and saw another resurgence of popularity when it was sampled in Sean Kingston’s 2007 song “Beautiful Girls.”
In 1999 BMI named the song No. 4 on its list of the top 100 songs of the 20th century—the most played tracks on radio and TV in the U.S. In March the U.S. Library of Congress added it to the National Recording Registry.