Royal passed away in his sleep on Tuesday (06Oct15) at his home in North Carolina, his tour partner Ronnie MCDowell confirmed.

His cause of death had not been released as WENN went to press.

Royal had a string of pop hits in the 1960s including Down in the Boondocks, I Knew You When and Cherry Hill Park, before he left the Columbia Records label in 1969.

He experienced career success once again when he reemerged as a country singer with 1985 track Burned Like a Rocket, and he followed it up with 14 singles, which all entered the U.S. country charts.

His most popular song, a cover of Aaron Neville's Tell It Like It Is, reached the number two slot in 1989.

Royal toured extensively, and released his last record, titled His First Gospel Album, in 2009, while he also enjoyed a role in 2013 western Billy the Kid.

The singer was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in 1988.