Jimmy Ellis Dies at 74

'Disco Inferno' Singer Jimmy Ellis Dies
Jimmy Ellis
The Herald/AP

03/09/2012 AT 08:30 AM EST

Jimmy Ellis, the voice behind the dance floor anthem "Disco Inferno," passed away Thursday in South Carolina. He was 74.

Ellis died of complications from Alzheimer's Disease, his daughter told the New York Times.

Ellis was the lead singer of Philadelphia-based funk band The Trammps, which released several R&B singles in the 1970s, including their Top 10 hit "Disco Inferno."

The song – with its infectious "burn, baby, burn" refrain – helped propel sales of the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack to 15 million, making it the second highest selling soundtrack of all time (behind The Bodyguard).

The band toured together until 2010, according to the Times.

In addition to his daughter, Erika Stinson, Ellis is survived by his wife, Beverly, son James III, three brothers, a sister, eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held next week in Charlotte, N.C.
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