BILL PINKNEY, the last original member of The Drifters, has been found dead in a Florida hotel room. He was 81.
The South Carolina-born singer died at his room at the Hilton Daytona Beach Oceanfront Resort in Daytona Beach on Wednesday (04Jul07), where he was scheduled to take part in U.S. Independence Day celebrations.
Daytona Beach Police spokesman Jimmie Flynt said Pinkney's death was not being treated as suspicious.
Before turning to music, Pinkney played ball for the New York Blue Sox Baseball Team and served in the U.S. Army during World War II.
Following the war, Pinkney met the rest of the original Drifters in gospel choirs and in 1953 starting recording albums as a group.
Pinkney quit the group in 1958 following a salary dispute and formed another group called The Flyers.
A year later, Pinkney reunited with some of his former bandmates and began touring as The Original Drifters.
During his long career, Pinkney has been honoured with the Rhythm and Blues Foundation Pioneer Award and has been inducted into the Vocal Hall Of Fame.
Pinkney will be buried in his home state of South Carolina.