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R&B legend Percy Sledge laid to rest in BR

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BAKER - Hundreds of family and friends mourned the loss of R&B legend Percy Sledge, known for the iconic song "When a Man Loves a Woman."

As mourners said goodbye to Sledge those closest to him shared stories of the past shedding light on the man behind the music.

"He made me fall in love in high school with that song," said Alabama Pastor Jerry Reeves.

Reeves and Sledge's life-long friend Joseph Hogan say Sledge grew up wanting to be a professional baseball player. He was known for his athleticism and skills in the pool hall, but music grabbed his attention.

"When I first heard that song as a dub I said to myself you better keep your other job cause it wasn't going nowhere," said Hogan. "The next thing I know it's pop number one."

Sledge's music gave him the chance to travel the world touching countless lives with each ballad.

"It's just a wonderful sound. He's a unique singer. It's different," said Sledge's son Howell Sledge. "Just like all the other wonderful artists in the world, they got their own style. Percy Sledge had his."

"He separated the barriers between cultures, and he has gone all over the world. He has sang to all types of people in all countries," said Reeves. "I think that he eliminated the barriers in music as a whole."

Sledge's son says he will miss his father, but his dad's legacy will live on through music.

"His song comes on the radio and you know who it is. You'll be like oh man I love that song. Well that's the type of music my dad had," said Sledge.

Sledge died last week at the age of 74 from liver cancer. He is survived by his wife Rosa, 12 children, 17 grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.



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