Blues Legend Denise LaSalle Dies At 78

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Sydney Scott Jan, 10, 2018

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of R&B singer Denise LaSalle, who passed away Monday night.

According to The Jackson Sun, LaSalle, 78, had been battling an illness for an extended time and passed away surrounded by family and friends at Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville. 

Walter Reid, a close friend of LaSalle and her husband, James Wolfe, told the publication that the singer and Wolfe “treated me like a son.”

“She was the Queen of the Blues,” Reid said. “I went and saw her in Milan a few weeks ago when she was trying to get better, and I talked to her for a little while.”

Reid worked for LaSalle at her restaurant and radio station, which she co-owned with her husband. He says he had no radio experience when LaSalle took him under her wing. 

“I’d done work as a D.J., but never on the radio,” Reid said. “They took me under their wing at 19-years-old and gave me a job and a chance to work.”

“She and James treated me like a son, and I think of them like parents. I thank them for all they did for me.”

LaSalle suffered from health issues in recent months, which reportedly led to the amputation of her right leg after she suffered a fall. 

LaSalle achieved fame with her 1971 hit song “Trapped by a Thing Called Love” and is also well-known for “Now Run and Tell That.” Born Ora Denise Allen on a plantation in Sidon, Mississippi, she took LaSalle as a stage name after she moved to Chicago in her teens.