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Soul singer Fontella Bass dies, aged 72

HIT: Rescue Me reached No. 1 on the R&B charts and No. 4 on the Billboard pop singles chart

SOUL SINGER Fontella Bass passed away at a St Louis hospice yesterday evening, her daughter has said.

Bass, who hit the top of the R&B charts with Rescue Me in 1965, died from complications brought on by a heart attack suffered three weeks ago.

“She was an outgoing person,” Neuka Mitchell said of her mother.

“She had a very big personality. Any room she entered she just lit the room up, whether she was on stage or just going out to eat.”

The St Louis-born singer began performing at a young age, singing in her church's choir at age 6. She was surrounded by music, often traveling on national tours with her mother and her gospel group.

Her mother was gospel singer Martha Bass, one of the Clara Ward Singers. Her younger brother, David Peaston, had a string of R&B hits in the 1980s and 1990s. Peaston died in February at age 54.

Rescue Me, which Bass co-write, reached No. 1 on the R&B charts and No. 4 on the Billboard pop singles chart.

She later sued American Express over the use of Rescue Me in a commercial, settling for an undisclosed amount in 1993. She was inducted into the St. Louis Hall of Fame in 2000.

Funeral arrangements for Bass, who is survived by four children, were incomplete.

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