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Fontella Bass Dead at 72

Fontella Bass
Gabe Palacio, Getty Images

Soul singer Fontella Bass, recognized for her 1965 chart-topping hit ‘Rescue Me,’ has died at the age of 72.

Bass, a native of St. Louis, passed away Wednesday (Dec. 26) at a local hospice. Her death comes as a result of complications from a heart attack suffered three weeks ago, the Associated Press reports. Over the past seven years, Bass had reportedly suffered a series of strokes.

Born July 3, 1940, Fontella Bass was the daughter of a gospel singer. Before she was a teen, the aspiring songstress sang in her church choir and toured with her mother, who performed overseas. Bass went on to play piano for blues singer Little Milton but sought fame as a solo singer in the ’60s.

Her smash ‘Rescue Me’ was recorded several years later and became the song that thrust her into the spotlight, reaching No. 1 on the R&B charts for four weeks and earning her a No. 4 slot on the Billboard Hot 100. The tune appeared on her debut LP, ‘The New Look.’ Bass recorded eight albums during the course of her singing career. In addition to those achievements, the chanteuse was inducted into the St. Louis Hall of Fame in 2000.

On a personal note, Bass was married to husband Lester Bowie, who died in 1999. She is survived by four children.

Watch Fontella Bass Perform ‘Rescue Me’

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