Errol Brown, co-founder and frontman of British soul band Hot Chocolate, has died aged 71 after losing his battle with liver cancer. The singer, whose smash hits included You sexy Thing and Everyone’s a Winner, passed away at his home in the Bahamas with his wife of 35 years Ginette and daughters Leonie and Colette at his bedside.
Yet, the renowned singer became an international celebrity despite being abandoned by his father in Jamaica. His mother had emigrated to England and worked as a shorthand secretary to secure the future for her son.
His mother, who died in 1963 at the tragically early age of just 36, never saw how successful her son would become. Yet, her influence and the sacrifices she made to ensure that Brown went to a public school and received the best possible education, had a dramatic influence on the singer.
That he was surrounded by his loved ones was a fitting end for the soul singer, who famously quit showbusiness in 1985 to spend more time with his family – only to have a second crack at the big time when You sexy Thing was used in 1997 film The Full Monty.
He said arriving in London to the home his mother had prepared had a major influence on the nature of his music and as a result which made it so popular with the record-buying public.
Speaking to bluesandsould.com he said: ‘Basically it was the combination of the cultures in me – black and white – that really became the basis of my music.’ Friends last night described him as a ‘charismatic performer’ and a ‘gentleman’.