St. Louis, MO -- Fontella Bass, a St. Louis-born soul singer who hit the top of the R&B charts with "Rescue Me" in 1965, has died.
The singer's daughter, Neuka Mitchell, says Bass died at a St. Louis hospice Wednesday night of complications from a heart attack suffered three weeks ago. She was 72. Bass had also suffered several strokes since 2005.
Bass was born into a family with deep musical roots. Her mother was gospel singer Martha Bass, one of the Clara Ward Singers. Her younger brother, David Peaston, had a string of R&B hits in the 1980s and 1990s. Peaston died in February at age 54.
Her surviving family includes four children. Her husband, jazz trumpeter Lester Bowie, died in 1999.
Bass first achieved success dueting with Bobby McClure in 1965 on songs such as "Don't Mess Up A Good Thing" and "You'll Miss Me (When I'm Gone)," both of which were hits on the pop and R&B charts.
Bass' biggest hit came with "Rescue Me," which shot up the Billboard pop charts in the fall of 1965, becoming one of the most popular soul hits of all time.
The song has been covered and sampled numerous times over the years, including by pop stars Linda Ronstadt and Cher, and more recently in 2000 by UK group Nu Generation, who remixed the song into a dance track.
Bass had moderate success in later years with a gospel album in the 1990s, but was unable to emulate the popularity set by "Rescue Me."
Funeral arrangements are pending.