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Soul icon Percy Sledge dies in Louisiana

Renowned singer Percy Sledge, whose claim to fame is his recording of "When a man loves a woman," has died at the age of 74. Sledge died of liver cancer at his home in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, according to his agent.

The news of Sledge's death was confirmed by his longtime agent Steve Green on Tuesday, who described the legendary singer as a "decent person."

"We've represented a lot of artists here. Percy was one of our first," said Green, who heads the Artists International Management company. "What a nice person in a miserable business!" he said.

Born in Alabama in 1941 during the time when racial segregation was prevalent in southern US, Sledge's music career took off when he was working at a hospital.

His debut song "When a man loves a woman" topped the charts in 1966 and turned Sledge into a global star.

The song was ranked 53rd by Rolling Stone magazine in its list of 500 greatest songs of all times. The soulful ballad led to his induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2005.

In April 1994, the iconic singer pleaded guilty in a federal court to tax evasion involving his concert incomes during the late 1980s. He was fined and sentenced to six months in a rehabilitation center by the court.

Sledge's other popular songs include "Warm and tender Love," "It tears me up," "Out of left field" and "Take time to know her."

shs/jr (AP, Reuters, AFP)