HOLLYWOOD—Singer Ben E. King died of natural causes at the age of 76 on Thursday, April 30. The news was announced to the public on May 1.

King is best known for his hit song “Stand by Me.” It was titled a U.S. Top 10 hit in both 1961 and 1986, when it was used as the theme song for a film with the same name. King was also the lead singer of the R&B group the Drifters.

Following the star’s death, Gary U.S. Bonds, fellow musician, wrote via Facebook: “With an extremely heavy heart, I must say goodbye to one of the sweetest, gentlest and gifted souls that I have had the privilege of knowing and calling my friend for more than 50 years – Mr. Ben E. King. Speaking for myself, my family & my Roadhouse Rockers family, I can tell you that Ben E. will be missed more than words can say.” He continued, “Our sincere condolences go out to Betty and the entire family. Thank you Ben E. for your friendship and the wonderful legacy you leave behind.”

King is survived by his wife of 51 years Betty Nelson, his three children and six grandchildren.