Ben E. King — Who Sang ‘Stand By Me’ — Has Died

Kaitlan Collins Contributor
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R&B legend Ben E. King died on Thursday. He was 76.

The singer, best known for his hit “Stand By Me,” died from natural causes, his publicist Phil Brown confirmed Friday.

Born Benjamin Nelson, King got his start singing with “The Drifters” back in 1950, who had popular hits like “There Goes My Baby” and “Save The Last Dance For Me.”

Ben E. King dies

(Photo: Getty Images)

He later went solo after he was denied a raise (“The Drifters” members were paid only $100 per week), and had “Stand By Me” become a top five hit in 1961. King said the song was originally intended for his former group, but they didn’t like it.

He said that throughout his career, that was his favorite song he’d ever written. (RELATED: Joe Cocker Dies)

Fellow singer Gary Bonds paid tribute to King on Facebook.

“With an extremely heavy heart, I must say goodbye to one of the sweetest, gentlest and gifted souls that I have had the privilege of knowing and calling my friend for more than 50 years – Mr. Ben E. King. Speaking for myself, my family & my Roadhouse Rockers family, I can tell you that Ben E. will be missed more than words can say. Our sincere condolences go out to Betty and the entire family. Thank you Ben E. for your friendship and the wonderful legacy you leave behind.”


Kaitlan Collins