St. Louis soul singer Fontanella Bass passed away on Wednesday, December 26 around 9:45 P.M. at the age of 72. Her daughter Neuka Mitchell confirmed that Bass suffered from a heart attack three weeks ago and died of its complications at a St. Louis hospice.
"She was an outgoing person," Mitchell said of her mother. "She had a very big personality. Any room she entered she just lit the room up, whether she was on stage or just going out to eat." She is survived by four children. Her husband Lester Bowie died in 1999.
Bass is the daughter of gospel music great Martha Bass, who was one of the Clara Ward Singers members. She had a brother, named David Peaston, who was also a singer. Peaston died in February and the family said that they were still reeling on his death.
Bass herself was famous for her 1965 hit "Rescue Me" which has been covered by numerous artists such as Aretha Franklin and Cher. The single sold more than a million copies and stayed at #1 for four weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 R&B chart.
In 1995, her gospel album "No Ways Tired" was nominated for a Grammy. She was still touring in her later years and was inducted to St. Louis Walk of Fame in 2000. However, Bass suffered from stroke in the last seven years of her life.