Grammy-winning and Oscar-nominated R&B star James Ingram has died. His death was confirmed by longtime friend Debbie Allen, who said on Twitter that she has lost her “dearest friend and creative partner James Ingram to the Celestial Choir.” TMZ says that Ingram died from brain cancer, though an official cause of death has not been released. Ingram was 66.
Over his decades-long career, Ingram landed several number-one hits on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart, first with his 1982 Patti Austin duet “Baby, Come To Me” and then in 1990 with “I Don’t Have The Heart.” Though he had already been a working musician for a decade at that point, the success of tracks like those made him one of the top R&B stars of the late-’80s and early-’90s. This helped Ingram land a number of high-profile collaborations, like co-writing Michael Jackson’s “P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)“ with Quincy Jones and recording “Yah Mo B There” with Michael McDonald—a record that earned Ingram one of his two Grammy wins. The other was for “One Hundred Ways” in 1982, and he also landed a dozen other nominations throughout the ‘80s and ‘90s. Ingram even appeared on the legendary charity single “We Are The World.”
Meanwhile, Ingram also had a successful career doing soundtrack work, earning Oscar nominations for his soundtracks to Beethoven’s 2nd and Junior. One of his more lasting contributions to film, though, is the song “Somewhere Out There” from An American Tail, which he recorded with Linda Ronstadt. The song, which was written by James Horner, Barry Mann, and Cynthia Weil, won a couple Grammys on its own, with Ronstadt and Ingram getting a nomination for their performance. The song was even nominated for an Oscar, though it lost to “Take My Breath Away” from Top Gun.