Ben E. King, a celebrated soul singer best known for the 1961 classic "Stand By Me," has died at age 76. A solo artist and former member of doo-wop group The Drifters, Billboard reports that King achieved BillboardHot 100 chart success with 21 hits including "Stand," "Spanish Harlem" and "Supernatural Thing (Part I)."

Fellow musician Gary "U.S." Bonds expressed his condolences in a Facebook post on Thursday (April 30): "With an extremely heavy heart, I must say goodbye to one of the sweetest, gentlest and gifted souls that I have had the privilege of knowing and calling my friend for more than 50 years."

Bonds went on to say, "Speaking for myself, my family & my Roadhouse Rockers family, I can tell you that Ben E. will be missed more than words can say ... Thank you Ben E. for your friendship and the wonderful legacy you leave behind."

"Stand By Me" is the United States' fourth most-played track of the 20th Century on radio and television, according to the BBC. This fact isn't surprising, as it's a cover-song (and karaoke) staple that somehow manages to evoke nostalgia for a time before most of us were born.

Listen to Lady Gaga's live version of "Stand By Me" in the video below.

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