DEAD: ON THIS DATE
Rick James (aged 56)
American singer, songwriter, dancer, bandleader and record producer dancer
Rick James (born James Ambrose Johnson Jr. February 1, 1948 – August 6, 2004) was an American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer. Born and raised in Buffalo, New York, James began his musical career in his teen years. He was in a number of various bands and groups before entering the U.S. Navy to avoid being drafted in the early 1960s. In 1965, James deserted to Toronto, Canada, where he formed the rock band the Mynah Birds, who eventually signed a recording deal with Motown Records in 1966. James’s career with the group halted after military authorities discovered his whereabouts and eventually convicted James on a one-year prison term related to the draft charges. After being released, James moved to California where he started a variety of rock and funk groups in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
DEATH: On the morning of August 6, 2004, James’s caretaker found him dead in James’s Los Angeles home at the Oakwood Toluca Hills apartment complex, just outside Burbank. He had died from pulmonary failure and cardiac failure, associated with his various health conditions of diabetes, a stroke, pacemaker, and heart attack. His autopsy found alprazolam, diazepam, bupropion, citalopram, hydrocodone, digoxin, chlorpheniramine, methamphetamine, and cocaine in his blood. However, the coroner stated that “none of the drugs or drug combinations were found to be at levels that were life-threatening in and of themselves”.
James was buried at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Buffalo, New York.