Fontella Bass, the US soul singer best known for her 1965 hit "Rescue Me", died yesterday at the age of 72.
Bass died in a hospice in St Louis, Missouri, of a heart attack suffered three weeks ago, according to her daughter, Neuka Mitchell. She had also suffered a series of strokes.
Bass began singing in her church's choir at the age of six. Her interest turned to R&B when she was a teenager. She auditioned for Chess Records and landed a recording contract. Her duet with Bobby McClure, "Don't Mess Up A Good Thing", reached No 5 in the R&B charts. Later that year she recorded "Rescue Me", reaching No 1. Her voice bore a striking resemblance to that of Aretha Franklin. Bass haggled over royalty rights to "Rescue Me" for years. She is survived by four children.