Percy Sledge -- the iconic soul singer behind “When a Man Loves a Woman” -- has died at the age of 73. He was in hospice care in Baton Rouge, La., where he passed of natural causes earlier today, April 14.

Sledge was born in Leighton, Ala., in 1941. Prior to signing his first record deal, the singer worked in Leighton’s cotton fields before taking a position as an orderly at a hospital in Sheffield, Ala. At the same time, Sledge also juggled performances with the Esquires Combo.

It was then that he was discovered by producer Quin Ivy and together – with the help of producers Ivy and Marlin Greene -- they recorded a series of ballads. In 1966, Sledge released his debut single, “When a Man Loves a Woman,” which jumped to the No. 1 slot on the U.S. charts. For the remainder of the decade, Sledge maintained the success of his first single with “Warm and Tender Love,” “Take Time to Know Her” and “Cover Me.” He followed with the release of “I’ll Be Your Everything” and “Sunshine" in the '70s.

Sledge was inducted into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame in 1993, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2005 and the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame in 2007. He received the first-ever Rhythm and Blues Foundation Pioneer Award in 1989.

Our the thoughts are with Sledge's friends and family.