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'Legendary Musician Ray Charles Dies at 73'
Legendary Grammy-winning singer Ray Charles, whose gospel and blues-tinged music touched generations of music lovers and pervaded a number of films, died Thursday at his Beverly Hills home after a long battle with liver disease; he was 73. Blind by the age of 7, Charles's musical gifts transcended genres, as he went from country to jazz to blues to gospel with agility and left his mark on each. Ballads like "Georgia on My Mind," R&B hits like "Hit the Road Jack" and his iconic interpretation of "America the Beautiful" were just a few of the hits that won him 12 Grammy Awards, nine of which he received between 1960 and 1966.

A sorrowful Billy Ray Cyrus makes his statement after hearing the news of the loss of music icon Ray Charles: "I first learned about Ray Charles’ amazing music sitting on the piano bench with my Mom as we sang along to his songs such as ‘Georgia on My Mind’ and ‘Hit the Road Jack.’ My mom even plays piano by ear in that breezy good-time style. To say Ray Charles was one of my major influences is an understatement. I will miss him very much along with musicians and music fans all around the world."