Veteran funk singer Marva Whitney has died at the age of 68.
The star, who was nicknamed 'Soul Sister' by James Brown, passed away on Saturday (22Dec12) after suffering complications during a bout of pneumonia.
A statement on her official fan page on Facebook.com reads, "We're saddened to inform you that Soulsister #1 Marva Whitney passed away last night. She left us with a legacy that will shine forever. Please keep her family in your prayers."
Whitney was born Marva Ann Manning and started performing at the age of three with her family's gospel group, the Manning Gospel Singers.
She found fame singing with Godfather of Soul Brown's revue show in the 1960s, and was best known for her track Unwind Yourself.
Whitney continued to tour as recently as 2009 but suffered a stroke onstage that year in Australia and was forced to dramatically reduce her live schedule.
'Smalls Change (Meditations Upon Ageing)' arrives in April.
The two awards have made for a great 72nd birthday present for the country music icon.