Bob Meadows
April 07, 2008 12:00 PM

Wherever Jason Rae went, a good time followed. “He was the life and soul of the party,” says a club owner in Leeds, England, where the Scottish saxophonist lived with his wife, British singer Corinne Bailey Rae, 29. But his partying had a dark side: On March 22 West Yorkshire police found Rae, 31, dead from a suspected drug overdose at a friend’s apartment. Cops are awaiting toxicology results, but methadone bottles were reportedly among the drug paraphernalia removed from the scene.

Rae’s end is shocking because his wife, best known for her 2006 hit “Put Your Records On,” is a low-key homebody who campaigned against drug use earlier this year. “She’d never touch drugs,” said a childhood pal. The couple met at a Leeds jazz club where the singer worked and wed in 2001. “Very early on I realized I wanted to make him the one,” Corinne told Britain’s The Times in 2006. “I wanted to … just be in his company all the time.” As her star rose, his did too: Rae’s funk band Haggis Horns played with Corinne as well as Amy Winehouse. The night of March 21 Rae hung out at a pub before crashing at a friend’s apartment. The next day the friend unsuccessfully tried to rouse Rae. Police arrested an as-yet-unidentified man on suspicion of supplying controlled drugs. Sources say Corinne, who was reportedly grocery shopping when Rae’s body was found, is devastated. Says producer Mark Ronson: “Jason was one of the warmest people. I’ll miss him, as will everyone that ever got the chance to know him.”

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