Jean Knight, the funk singer behind one of the genre’s biggest hits, 1971’s “Mr. Big Stuff,” has died. She was 80 years old. 

The singer’s longtime friend and former Louisiana Music Commission executive director, Bernie Cyrus, confirmed the news to Rolling Stone

“She was the first person we appointed on the board when we took it over and we had a long relationship with her and she was just fabulous,” Cyrus told the outlet. “She was always willing to get involved with good causes and help out.”

He added that her biggest hit, “Mr. Big Stuff,” “was just so universal. “People remember it. And look, so many people covered it. But nobody did it like Jean.” 

Knight was born in New Orleans and started singing shortly after graduating high school. She captured the attention of several bands in the area, who would later back her up live. In 1965, she recorded her first song, a cover of Jackie Wilson’s “Stop Doggin’ Me Around.” The demo led to her securing a recording contract with Jet Star/Tribe record labels. She grew as an artist and built a fanbase over the next few years. 

Everything changed in 1970 when she started working with record producer Wardell Quezergue. The two penned “Mr. Big Stuff” in Malaco Studios in Jackson, Mississippi. Knight worked as a baker then, and the track was a smash hit, selling over 2 million records and going double platinum. “Mr. Big Stuff” earned Knight a Grammy nomination. 

“‘Mr. Big Stuff’ is better to me now than 31 years ago,” Knight said in 2002 of the royalty checks she received from the song. “All I have to do is sit at home and wait for the mailman.”

Knight was featured in countless films and TV shows following the success of “Mr. Big Stuff,” including Spike Lee’s Crooklyn, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, The Simpsons, and The Deuce. She charted the charts again in 1972 with “Carry On.” She continued to chart over the years with “You Got the Papers (But I Got the Man),” a collaboration with producer Isaac Bolden and his Soulin’ label, and “My Toot Toot.” In 2007, her song “Do Me” was featured on the Superbad soundtrack. She was inducted into the Louisiana Music Commission Hall of Fame that same year.