US singer Loleatta Holloway, best known for her vocals which were sampled on Black Box's 1989 hit Ride On Time, has died at the age of 64.
The performer died of heart failure, her manager Ron Richardson confirmed to the BBC.
She made six studio albums and her hits included ballad Only You in 1978 and 1980's Love Sensation.
It was the latter track that Black Box sampled for Ride On Time, which was number one in the UK for six weeks.
The song became controversial after it emerged the Italian dance act had used Holloway's performance without crediting her, and she went on to successfully sue the band.
Her vocals were lip-synched by model Catherine Quinol, who fronted Black Box during their chart success.
"She was a very strong, powerful woman, but she was sweet at the same time," Mr Richardson told BBC 6 Music.
"She was also very fragile, which a lot of people didn't know."
Singer Carol Williams, who was on the SalSoul Records label with Holloway, said that she "put her right up at the top as one of the greatest voices in the world".
"When she recorded in the studio, she would have to stand so far back from the mic. Most singers, you know, go right up to the mic and almost have their lips on it. Loleatta could stand feet away."
Gilles Peterson, BBC Radio 1 DJ and co-founder of the Acid Jazz label, told 6 Music his favourite Holloway song was Hit and Run.
"That needs to get played again, because that really takes the soul, the emotion, the disco - everything about Loleatta Holloway is in that one song," he said.
Holloway leaves behind four children and nine grandchildren.
A private service for the family and a public memorial at Rev Jesse Jackson's church in Chicago are due to be held.