The legendary James Brown, 71, has prostate cancer, he revealed this morning. The Godfather of Soul is set to undergo surgery on December 15th, followed by three weeks of recovery.
"I have overcome a lot of things in my life," the singer said in a statement. "I will overcome this as well."
Brown's four-decade career has spawned several hits, and his classics "I Got You (I Feel Good)," "Sex Machine," "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag," "It's a Man's Man's Man's World," "Say It Loud -- I'm Black and Proud" and "Please, Please, Please" were all recently voted into Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. Last December, the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer was honored at the Kennedy Center as "one of the most influential musicians of the past fifty years."
But his personal life has been rife with controversy: Brown served a two-and-a-half-year prison sentence after 1988 drug and assault charges and was convicted of a drug charge in 1998 (he was later pardoned). And as recently as January of this year, he was arrested and charged with criminal domestic violence for allegedly pushing his wife to the floor and threatening her during an argument (it was resolved when the singer pleaded no contest).
Brown's updated autobiography, James Brown: The Godfather of Soul -- co-authored by, among others, Rev. Al Sharpton -- is due next month. The performer wrapped up a two-week Canadian tour on Thursday, and plans a tour of Asia and Australia in early 2005.