Marva Whitney dies: James Brown's Soul Sister No. 1 was 68

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Marva Whitney, the woman dubbed by James Brown as Soul Sister No. 1, has died. She was 68.

DJ Pari, Whitney's manager from 2004 through her retirement in 2011, tells The New York Times that the singer died of complications of pneumonia. She passed in her hometown.

"Marva's family would like to thank you for your love and support in this difficult time," a post on her Facebook page reads. "Marva's funeral will be on Saturday, January 5th, in Kansas City. Instead of flowers, the family asks you to support the MARVA WHITNEY MEMORIAL FUND, which is designed to fund musical education for children in Kansas City."

Whitney rose to fame after she joined the James Brown Revue in 1967. She is best known for her song "It's My Thing," which was a take on the Isley Brothers track "It's Your Thing." Brown, who was known as Soul Brother No. 1, called Whitney "Soul Sister No. 1." Whitney was working on the autobiography "God, the Devil & James Brown: Memoirs of a Funk Diva," which is planned to be published this year. 

She is survived by two children, five grandchildren, two great-grandchildren, her mother and five brothers.

Photo/Video credit: Getty Images
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