Philadelphia-born soul singer Billy Paul, the man responsible for the 1972 hit song “Me and Mrs. Jones,” died Sunday at his Blackwood, New Jersey home, his manager confirmed.

Paul was 81 years old.

The artist, whose singing career began at the age of 11 when he appeared on local radio station WPEN, was recently diagnosed with cancer. He was hospitalized last week at Temple University Hospital, manager Beverly Gay told NBC10.

We regret to announce with a heavy heart that Billy has passed away today at home after a serious medical condition.

We would like to extend our most sincere condolences to his wife Blanche and family for their loss, as they and the world grieves the loss of another musical icon that helped pioneered today’s R&B music. Billy will be truly missed.

Please share you thought, messages and stories of Billy as we remember this legendary artist, family member and friend.

Paul’s “Me and Mrs. Jones,” a fan favorite, was the number one single on the Billboard Hot 100. The Gamble and Huff record also won a Grammy Award. Paul’s decades-long career includes collaborations and performances with other musical legends like Nina Simone and Miles Davis.

From NBC10:

In all, Paul released 15 albums (not counting a 1973 reissue of “Feelin’ Good at the Cadillac Club”) between 1968 and 1988. While he never again matched the mainstream success of “Me and Mrs. Jones,” he is recognized by many as a pioneer and important figure in soul music, known for his socially conscious lyrics. According to Paul’s website, Questlove of the Roots once compared him to Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder, calling him, “one of the criminally unmentioned proprietors of socially conscious post-revolution ’60s civil rights music.”

Details about Paul’s funeral arrangements will soon be released, Gay confirmed to NBC10.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the Paul family during this difficult time.

SOURCE: NBC10 | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty

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