Legendary soul singer Billy Paul died Sunday at his home in New Jersey ... according to his manager.
Paul -- most famous for his iconic song, "Me and Mrs. Jones" -- had checked into Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia last week as he battled cancer ... but his manager, Beverly Gay, says he was at home when he passed away.
Paul's signature hit went to number one for 3 weeks in 1972. The song also won him a Grammy.
His 1975 hit, "Let's Make a Baby" became controversial as Rev. Jesse Jackson called for radio stations to boycott the song due to its sexuality.
Paul's music made him a central figure in the black power movement, but chart-wise ... he never matched the success of 'Mrs. Jones.'
Billy was 81 years old.
Yep. 2016 officially sucks, where music greats are concerned.