James Ingram has died after reportedly battling a form of brain cancer

By Brianne Tracy and Melody Chiu
January 29, 2019 06:05 PM
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Credit: Earl Gibson III/WireImage

James Ingram has died at the age of 66.

The Grammy-winning R&B singer-songwriter’s longtime friend and creative partner, choreographer and Grey’s Anatomy producer Debbie Allen, confirmed the news on social media on Tuesday.

“I have lost my dearest friend and creative partner James Ingram to the Celestial Choir,” she announced in a tweet Tuesday. “He will always be cherished, loved and remembered for his genius, his love of family and his humanity. I am blessed to have been so close. We will forever speak his name.”

Ingram reportedly died from a form of brain cancer and had been ill for some time, according to TMZ.

A native of Ohio, Ingram had been a session keyboardist in Los Angeles before getting his big break after Quincy Jones heard one of his demos and asked him to sing several songs on his 1981 album, The Dude.

Ingram co-wrote Michael Jackson’s chart-topper “P.Y.T.” with Jones, and he teamed up with Jackson and Jones again when he appeared in the “We Are The World” charity single and video.

Jones paid tribute to Ingram by sharing a video of Ingram performing their collaboration “Just Once” to Twitter on Tuesday. He wrote in the caption, “There are no words to convey how much my ❤️ aches with the news of the passing of my baby brother, James Ingram. With that soulful, whisky sounding voice, James was simply magical. He was, & always will be, beyond compare. Rest In Peace my baby bro…You’ll be in my ❤️ forever.”

“Another dear friend has made his transition. James Ingram, a voice to be recognized and revered, a wonderful human being full of joy,” Dionne Warwick, his duet partner on “How Do You Keep the Music Playing?” told PEOPLE in a statement. “Truly deep heartfelt condolence to his wife and his family. He will be missed and may he now rest peacefully!”

Before going solo, Ingram was a member of the 1970s group Revelation Funk. His solo career produced a string of hits in the ’80s, including his duet with Patti Austin, “Baby Come to Me,” and duet with Linda Ronstadt, “Somewhere Out There.”

Nominated a total of 14 times at the Grammys, Ingram won a gramophone trophy in 1981 for “One Hundred Ways” and then again in 1984 for his duet with Michael McDonald, “Yah Mo B There.” Among his other nods was a nomination for best new artist.

“Ingram’s rich voice and masterful songwriting has made a lasting impact on the music industry,” the Recording Academy said in a statement. “Our thoughts go out to his loved ones during this difficult time.”

Ingram was also nominated in back to back years at the Academy Awards in 1994 and 1995 in the best original song category for “The Day I Fall In Love” and “Look What Love Has Done,” respectively.

He is survived by his wife of 43 years, Debbie Robinson, and their six children.