Legendary singer James Brown, known as the 'Godfather of Soul', has died in Atlanta aged 73.

Born James Joe Brown Junior in 1933, he went on to live a life full of major highs and lows.

He found himself in prison for trying to steel a car at the age of 16, harshly given a sentence of between 8 and 16 years. He only served 3 years and a day of this and after his release he tried to balance becoming a boxer and being in a gospel group. He would spend more time behind bars in the late eighties after an 'incident' with a gun resulted in a high-speed police chase.

His first taste of real success was as the leader of the James Brown Revue. In his early years as a performer, audiences were thrilled and outraged by his band's tight R n' B sound, and during these live shows Brown was such an energetic showman he would loose up to 7 pounds a night. He would go on to play 350 gigs a year as his career took off.

It was the writing of 'Please Please Please' which turned him into a megastar, with the track selling over a million copies. Worldwide hits 'Papa's Got a Brand New Bag', 'I Got You (I Feel Good)' and 'Get Up (I Feel Like Being a Sex Machine)' followed throughout the sixties, but before that the album to really put him on the map was 'James Brown Live at the Apollo'.

His career suffered from the success of disco music in the seventies, his appearance in the film Blues Brothers helped put him right back in the spotlight in the mid eighties, however it was the mainstream popularity of hip-hop which saw Brown's music reach a new audience in the early nineties.

He was never far away from the headlines and controversy throughout his career. During the sixties he embraced the ideal of the American Dream and encouraged black people to do likewise. Unsurprisingly some radicals, though, criticised him for his patriotism and he received death threats after playing to US troops in Vietnam. His influence was so strong however that after the assassination of Martin Luther King in 1968, a James Brown concert from Boston was broadcast across the US.

Another major live highlight from Brown's career would come in 1974 in Zaire as part of the build-up to the Rumble In The Jungle fight between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman.

James Brown continued to play live write up until his death. He supported the Red Hot Chili Peppers on a summer tour of the UK in 2004 as well as appearing at both Glastonbury and T in the Park in recent years. His last appearance in the UK was at the BBC Electric Proms in October 2006.

His death is as a result of severe pneumonia. he first fell ill a matter of hours after holding his annual toy give away.