It was December 25, 2006, that word came down that James Brown had died at the age of 73. His death was a shock, given that he’s been working almost nonstop for 50 years and showed no indication that he was sick.
Two days earlier, Brown showed up for a dentist appointment several hours late, appearing weak, dazed and unwell, suffering from a nasty cough that had been with him since he returned from a European tour. He also had diabetes and arthritis. Rather than work on him, the dentist suggested that he see a doctor as soon as possible.
On December 24, he checked into Emory Crawford Long Memorial Hospital in Atlanta for observation and treatment of whatever was ailing him. Although doctors didn’t consider his condition life-threatening, his health deteriorated throughout the day and at about 1:45 am Christmas morning, he was pronounced dead. The cause: congestive heart failure resulting from complications resulting from pneumonia.
Apparently, his final words were “I’m going away tonight.” He took three long breaths, fell asleep and never woke up.