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Lou Rawls was a singer and songwriter known for his baritone voice and the small acting roles he took on the side.
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Still music remained at the center of his life. Rawls scored a few minor hits on the R&B charts in 1980s, including "All Time Love," "Learn to Love Again," and "I Wish You Belonged to Me." Exploring a more jazz-oriented sound, he had several albums on the jazz charts. At Last (1989) reached the top of Billboard's contemporary jazz charts while Portrait of the Blues (1993) and Rawls Sings Sinatra (2003) both broke into the top five of the jazz charts.
It seemed fitting that his final recording was a salute to Ol' Blues Eyes, featuring such quintessential Sinatra songs as "Come Fly with Me" and "That's Life." In 2004, he got married to his third wife, Nina. What should have been a happy time for the newlyweds was later shattered by some sad news. Rawls learned that he had lung cancer that December. The next spring he discovered that he also had brain cancer. Forever a philanthropist, he appeared on his telethon in September 2005 despite his illness.
Rawls died on January 6, 2006, in Los Angeles. He survived by his wife Nina, their son, Aiden, and his three children from previous relationships, Lou Rawls, Jr., Jouanna Rawls, and Kendra Smith.
The Reverend Jesse Jackson gave the eulogy at his funeral and many in the entertainment industry mourned his passing. A friend of the singer, Aretha Franklin told Jet magazine that he "was a great guy — with a great sense of humor... We should always remember and salute Lou Rawls."
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