By Nick Romano
January 29, 2019 at 04:57 PM EST
Credit: Snap/REX/Shutterstock

James Ingram, the Grammy-winning R&B singer behind hits like “Yah Mo B There” and “I Don’t Have the Heart,” died at the age of 66, his friend and creative partner Debbie Allen confirmed through a post on Twitter.

Details on Ingram’s death are currently unknown, but according to TMZ, he reportedly died from brain cancer. A rep for the singer did not immediately respond to EW’s request for comment.

“I have lost my dearest friend and creative partner James Ingram to the Celestial Choir,” Allen wrote. “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 received two Grammys over the course of his career, which began in 1973, and numerous other nominations. “One Hundred Ways,” released in 1981, won Best Male R&B Vocal Performance. His duet with Michael McDonald on “Yah Mo B There,” one of his most famous hits, earned him a Grammy for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals in 1984.

“Baby, Come Back to Me” from 1982 became Ingram’s first chart-topper with a duet with Patti Austin. “I Don’t Have the Heart,” which marked one of his 14 career Grammy nominations, boosted him to the top of the charts again in 1990.

Disney fans may recognize his vocals on the song “Somewhere Out There” from the soundtrack to 1986’s animated Fievel Mousekewitz movie An American Tail. He performed with Linda Ronstadt on the track that became a No. 2 pop chart placer (it also won a Grammy, but the recognition went to writers James Horner and Cynthia Weil).

Ingram also received two Oscar nominations and two Golden Globes nominations, one of each for “Look What Love Has Done” from 1994’s Junior and “The Day I Fall in Love” off of 1993’s Beethoven’s 2nd.

Quincy Jones counts as one of Ingram’s close collaborators, working together on Michael Jackson’s “P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing).” The pair reunited for the charity music video and single for “We Are the World.” Stand (In the Light), Ingram’s final album co-produced by Jones, was released in 2008.

“There are no words to convey how much my heart aches with the news of the passing of my baby brother James Ingram,” Jones said in a statement, via New York Times reporter Jon Caramanica. “With that soulful, whisky sounding voice, James Ingram was simply magical. From the minute I first heard his voice on the demo tape for ‘Just Once,’ to ‘One Hundred Ways,’ his classic duet with Patti Austin ‘How Do You Keep The Music Playing,’ ‘Secret Garden,’ ‘We Are the World,’ and all of our recordings, every beautiful note that James sang pierced your essence and comfortably made itself at home. But it was really no surprise because James was a beautiful human being, with a heart the size of the moon. James Ingram was, and always will be, beyond compare. Rest in Peace baby brother. You will be in my heart forever.”

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