Legendary soul sensation Barry White has died of kidney failure at the age of 58, after becoming a father just four weeks ago.

The much-loved YOU'RE THE FIRST, THE LAST, MY EVERYTHING crooner - who was famed for his deep and sexy voice - had been in a Los Angeles hospital since September (02) having dialysis treatment following years of high blood pressure, and passed away on Friday night (4JUL03).

Barry was hoping to have a kidney transplant operation - but a stroke in May (03), which paralysed one side of his face, delayed the crucial procedure.

However, despite a series of health problems, larger-than-life Barry was delighted when partner KATHERINE DENTON gave birth to his eighth child, a daughter, last month (JUN03).

Soul singer ISAAC HAYES says, "I'm incredibly upset and it marks the passing of not only a friend but a great talent."

JUST THE WAY YOU ARE singer Barry - who won two Grammy Awards, despite being unable to read or write music - was born in Galveston, Texas, in 1944 and grew up in Los Angeles. He said Elvis Presley's IT'S NOW OR NEVER inspired him to pursue a career as a singer.

Barry symbolised seductive Seventies disco music and his fame lasted for 30 years. His last album, UNLIMITED LOVE, was released last year (02).

06/07/2003 10:36