Burke, 70, died early Sunday of natural causes on a plane from Los Angeles that had touched down at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport.
Burke was in Amsterdamn to perform a sellout show at the Paradiso – a church converted into a music hall – with the local band De Dijk.
‘His love, life, and music will continue to live within us forever,’ says the family statement on the singers website.
It continued, ‘This is a time of great sorrow for our entire family. We truly appreciate all of the support and well wishes from his friends and fans.’
He was born to the sounds of ‘horns and bass drums’ in the upstairs room of a church in Philadelphia. He would go on to be a music pioneer in the infancy of R&; a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame; win a Best Contemporary Blues Album Grammy; and play for John Paul II at the Vatican.
Before his music career began, Burke was a preacher in Philadelphia and hosted a gospel radio show. He met with Martin Luther King, Jr. on several occasions.
Sometime in the 60s Burke signed with Atlantic records and his first hit was a cover of the country song, ‘Just Out of Reach (of My Two Open Arms.)
He would have a few pop hits and several major R&B hits. Unfortunately, he never became as popular as the singers that were influenced by him – James Brown and Marvin Gay to name two.
Legendary Atlantic Records producer Jerry Wexler once called Burke, ‘the best soul singer of all time.’
Anti-Records President Andy Kaulkin said, ‘Popular music today wouldn’t be where it is without Solomon Burke.’
The most well-known song from Burke is ‘Cry To Me.’ It was a hit in the 60s and again in the 80s when it was used in one of the most memorable scenes from the movie ‘Dirty Dancing.’
His carrer was revitalized in the early 2000s after being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (alongside Bob Dylan