Soul singer Edwin Starr died of an apparent heart attack yesterday (April 2) at his home near Nottingham, England, his manager, Lilian Kyle, confirmed. He was 61.

Soul singer Edwin Starr died of an apparent heart attack yesterday (April 2) at his home near Nottingham, England, his manager, Lilian Kyle, confirmed. He was 61.

Born Charles Hatcher in Nashville, Starr formed his first group, the Future Tones, in 1957, recording one single before his three-year army service. In 1965, he began a solo career following two years of touring with another band. His early hits included "Agent Double-O Soul" and "Stop Her on Sight (S.O.S)," but his biggest success came with "War," a No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 hit in 1970 during a time of growing anti-Vietnam War protests. Other top-10 hits included "Contact" and "H.A.P.P.Y. Radio."

Starr, who made a brief comeback during the disco craze, later spent most of his time touring Europe on the oldies circuit. Last year, he performed at the wedding of Liza Minnelli and David Gest in New York. He also sang live with Bruce Springsteen, who has returned to covering "War" in concert lately. Last weekend, Starr performed at two shows in Stuttgart, Germany.

Rainer Haas, the promoter of the Stuttgart shows, said, "He was just superb. He played to 16,000 people over the two nights and he put on a great show. The shows were actually recorded for television, so we will have an enduring memory of how brilliant he was live."

In England, Starr participated in an award-winning BBC radio series on the U.S. civil rights movement. In 1995, he was featured on a Walt Disney children's workout album titled "Mousercise." He was booked to perform during the July WOMAD (World of Music, Arts, and Dance) festival in Reading, England.

"His death has come as a total shock," said Paul Carvell, a friend. "His health hasn't been brilliant recently, but he kept that away from most people and continued to give it his all when he performed."


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