Ray Charles, born Ray Charles Robinson (September 23, 1930 - June 10, 2004), was a modern American singer and pianist influential in the genres of rhythm and blues, soul, pop, blues, country, jazz, and gospel. Blind since the age of seven (he began to go blind from the age of six), it is suspected he suffered from an early attack of glaucoma. He is known for hits such as "What'd I Say?", "I Can't Stop Loving You", "Hit the Road Jack", "Georgia on My Mind", "Busted", "You Are My Sunshine", "I Got A Woman", as well as his version of "America the Beautiful". He was the winner of twenty Grammy Awards, and in 1986 was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Jazz Hall of Fame. In 2007, Ray Charles was inducted into the Hit Parade Hall of Fame.
After Charles died, President George W. Bush released a statement, saying of Charles that "his music and his optimism touched the lives and hearts of millions and spanned generations, cultures, races, and backgrounds. People from all walks of life would come together and tap their feet as one when Ray Charles played."