Friend, hair stylist to James Brown

Leon Rhodes Austin, an Augusta musician and associate of the late James Brown who once styled the singer's famous hair, has died at the age of 74.

Austin died Thursday at his home, according to C.A. Reid Memorial Funeral Home, which is handling arrangements. The cause was not disclosed.

Austin maintained the hair of the “Godfather of Soul” off and on before stage and media appearances for 20 years. Brown died in Atlanta on Christmas Day 2006.

Austin, a professional stylist, also owned Leon's DeSoto Club in Augusta, where his friend since third grade sometimes played. Austin also performed with Leon Austin and the Buicks in the 1960s, and was part of the James Brown Enterprises musical staff, doing background vocals and some musical arrangements.