Motown bandleader Joe Hunter was found dead in his Detroit, Michigan apartment on Friday (02FEB07). He was 79.
Hunter's son JOE HUNTER JR told The Detroit News the cause of his father's death is not yet known, but revealed he was diabetic.
The three-time Grammy Award winner was the first artist signed by Motown boss Berry Gordy and pianist Hunter accompanied Smokey Robinson and THE MIRACLES in the late 1950s.
In the 1960s, Hunter's band THE FUNK BROTHERS provided the backing for a host of Motown stars including Martha And The Vandellas and Marvin Gaye.
When Motown left Detroit in 1972, Hunter slipped into obscurity and was discovered by film-maker ALLAN SLUTSKY playing piano at Detroit hotels. Slutsky's 2002 documentary Standing in the Shadows of Motown featured a soundtrack by The Funk Brothers, which won two Grammys in 2003.
In 2004 The Funk Brothers were given a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.