Percy Sledge 'When a Man Loves a Woman' Singer Dies

4/14/2015 8:00 AM PDT

Percy Sledge Dies -- 'When a Man Loves a Woman' Singer Dead at 73

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R&B legend Percy Sledge -- famous for his hit "When a Man Loves a Woman" -- died at home in Baton Rouge, Louisiana Tuesday morning after a long battle with cancer.

Percy took his signature song to #1 in 1966. It was his debut single and went on to become an international hit. It was re-released in the U.K. in 1987 and still made it to #2 on the charts.

Michael Bolton's cover version also hit #1 in 1991 -- and it's one of Hollywood's favorite tunes ... appearing on the soundtracks of well over 20 movies.

Percy had a few other hits -- "Warm and Tender Love" and "Take Time to Know Her" -- but nothing that matched his first blockbuster hit.

He continued performing until about a year ago -- and this Thursday marks the 49th anniversary of the release of "When a Man Loves a Woman."

Sledge was 73.

We got Percy out in NYC a couple years ago. The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee was just awesome.