Errol Brown, Lead Singer of Hot Chocolate, Dead at 71

Errol Brown
Michael Putland/Getty Images

Errol Brown of Hot Chocolate photographed in 1974. 

Errol Brown, the lead singer and co-founder of '70s funk band Hot Chocolate, died Wednesday (May 6) morning. He was 71. According to a statement from his manager, Phil Dale, he had been suffering from liver cancer.

Brown wrote the group's biggest hit, "You Sexy Thing," which peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1976, and has been rendered almost immortal through its appearances in movies from The Full Monty to Legally Blonde to Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist.

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Hot Chocolate scored chart hits throughout the 1970s and 80s in over 50 countries, with the most success coming in the group's native England. Brown, originally from Jamaica, had moved to the U.K. at 12. His first single, a reggae version of "Give Peace A Chance," ended up being endorsed by John Lennon, which kicked off his very successful career.

"Errol was a gentleman and a personal friend of mine who will be sadly missed by everyone who knew him," Dale said of his longtime client. "His greatest legacy is that his music will live on!"

See Brown performing "You Sexy Thing" on The Midnight Special below: