Soul singer Charles Bradley performs at the Eaux Claires music festival in Wisconsin. For decades, he performed as a James Brown impersonator under the name Black Velvet. (Aaron Lavinsky/Star Tribune via AP)

Charles Bradley, known as the "Screaming Eagle of Soul" for a powerful, raspy style that evoked his musical hero James Brown, died Sept. 23 in Brooklyn. He was 68.

Mr. Bradley was diagnosed with stomach cancer last fall, according to a statement from Shazila Mohammed, his publicist. He went on tour earlier this year after receiving a clean bill of health, but the cancer returned recently, spreading to his liver.

A former Brown impersonator who performed under the name Black Velvet, Mr. Bradley was 62 when he released his debut album, "No Time for Dreaming" (2011). He followed it with "Victim of Love" (2013) and "Changes" (2016), whose title track was a cover of a 1972 song by the heavy metal band Black Sabbath.

He said he decided to cover the ballad shortly before the death of his mother, whose health was in decline and from whom he had long been estranged.

"Much of the album is about love: searching for it, being wronged by it, basking in it," the music website Pitchfork wrote in a favorable review. "After spending a lifetime estranged, Bradley patched up his relationship with his mother in time to serve as her caretaker before she passed, and also early enough that she got to see his career finally take off. In her absence . . . Bradley sounds heartbreakingly alone when he wails 'I've lost the best friend I've ever had.' "

Charles Edward Bradley was born on Nov. 5, 1948, in Gainesville, Fla., and was raised by his grandmother before his mother returned home to take him and his siblings to New York. He left home at 14, living for a time on subway cars for warmth.

"I was afraid that she was going to hurt me, so I left," Mr. Bradley later said of his mother. "We couldn't see eye to eye, and I was getting blamed for everything, so I was very bitter."

Mr. Bradley entered the federal Job Corps training program and moved to Maine to work as a chef. While there, a co-worker told him he looked like Brown, whose performance at the Apollo Theater in 1962 had "mesmerized" Mr. Bradley. The suggestion led him to work as a Brown impersonator, although Mr. Bradley's music career did not take off for another four decades. He was eventually discovered by Gabriel Roth, a Daptone co-founder, at a performance in Brooklyn.

"The world lost a ton of heart today," Roth said in a statement. "Charles was somehow one of the meekest and strongest people I've ever known. His pain was a cry for universal love and humanity."

A complete list of survivors was not immediately available.