US soul singer Percy Sledge, who sang the classic 'When a Man Loves a Woman', has died aged 73.

Louisiana coroner Dr William Clark confirmed that Sledge died early on Tuesday morning at his home in Baton Rouge.

When a Man Loves a Woman was Sledge’s first single. He said of the song, “I hummed it all my life, even when I was picking and chopping cotton in the fields.”.

The debut single reached the top 10 twice in the UK and topped the US Billboard chart for two weeks in 1966, when it also got to number four in the UK chart.

Sledge underwent surgery for liver cancer in January 2014 but quickly resumed touring.

Musician Bootsy Collins paid tribute on his Facebook page with the words: "Just lost another legend funkateers, Mr Percy Sledge."

Before his music career, Sledge worked in the cotton fields around his hometown of Leighton in northwest Alabama, before taking a job as a hospital nurse in the early 1960s.

A patient heard him singing while he worked and recommended him to record producer Quin Ivy.

The singer was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2005 and was a member of the Alabama Music Hall of Fame and the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame.

He is survived by his wife and children.