The American soul singer Percy Sledge died at his home earlier this week in Baton Rouge, Louisiana at the age of 74, following a long battle with cancer. He will probably be best remembered for his rendition of the timeless classic love song "When A Man Loves A Woman", a track that reached the top five in the UK on two separate occasions during his lifetime. Hollywood will continue to celebrate the enduring quality of the song long past his death. The song has already been featured on over 20 movie soundtracks up to this point, and the lyrics and sentiment seem to strike a chord with their target audience.

Percy Tyrone Sledge was born in Alabama in November 1940, which is where his ability as a blues and soul singer was first developed, learning his singing trade while picking and chopping cotton in the fields of his native county during the early years of his life. In the early 1960s he took a job as a hospital orderly, but it was Music that gave him his big break towards the end of the decade. In the 1970s, his emotional songs proved popular to music fans in America and beyond. To further his musical ambitions, he would tour with a group of musicians on the weekends, while holding down the day job in the hospital during the week.

"When A Man Loves A Woman" became the signature tune to many of his fans, climbing to number one in America and number four in the UK charts in 1966, and then only being kept off the top spot in the UK when it was re-released in 1987 by another classic song "Stand By Me" (sung by Ben E.

King), after Levi's jeans included the track in one of their television commercials in Britain. Sledge clearly loved the song himself as well, once stating that he had "hummed it all my life." He also had success with his follow up songs "Warm and Tender Love", "It Tears Me Up" and "Take Time to Know Her".

Sledge performed in concerts across the world prodigiously during the 1970s, especially in the Netherlands and Germany in Europe.

However, his fame and appeal also extended as far as Africa. He was believed to have performed at around 100 concerts annually in South Africa alone during that time of his career.

Recognising his services to the music industry throughout his lifetime, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame saw fit to induct him into their institution in 2005.

Sledge married twice during his life, his second wife Rosa survived him and had been his partner for over 30 years. He also had twelve children, with two of them also going into the music business.