James Brown died in the early morning hours of Christmas Day 2006. He was said to have passed of natural causes, congestive heart failure to be exact. A new CNN investigation, however, raises the possibility that the “Godfather of Soul” could have been murdered.
For the three-part investigative piece, writer Thomas Lake interviewed nearly 140 people over two years. At least 11 of them, including Brown’s former manager, widow and several friends and associates, have stated they want an autopsy and would like to open a criminal investigation into Brown’s death.
Dr. Marvin Crawford, who signed Brown’s death certificate, says he never truly believed the influential artist died of natural causes.
“He changed too fast,” Crawford said. “He was a patient I would never have predicted would have coded. … But he died that night, and I did raise that question: What went wrong in that room?”
Crawford claims he recommended an autopsy in the hours after Brown’s death, but the singer’s daughter Yamma Brown declined. When questioned by CNN about her decision, she didn’t offer an explanation.
The investigation began in 2017 after circus singer Jacque Hollander called a reporter claiming to have information about Brown’s death. Read the full investigative piece here.