Soul singer Bobby Womack died Friday at age 70. Rolling Stone reports a rep for Womack’s label, XL Recordings, confirmed the death of the singer, whose career spanned seven decades, however the cause of death is currently unknown. Womack was known to suffer from several health issues.
The son of two musicians, Womack began his career as a member of Curtis Womack and the Womack Brothers with his siblings, releasing a handful of gospel singles after legendary singer Sam Cooke signed them to his SAR Records label in 1960. After changing their name to The Valentinos, they found success with a more secular pop sound, propelled by the single It’s All Over Now.
Womack left the group in 1965 and went to work as a session musician, playing guitar on several albums before releasing his own debut, Fly Me to the Moon, in 1968. He followed-up the release with a string of successful albums, including the R&B classics Understanding and Across 110th Street.
Throughout most of the eighties, Womack struggled with drug addiction and suffered through a series of health problems after leaving rehabilitation, including diabetes, pneumonia, colon cancer, and the early signs of Alzheimer’s disease, though it’s unclear if any of these contributed to the singer’s death. Unspecified health concerns cancelled a planned Sydney performance last year.
Womack is also fondly remembered for the prominent role his music played in the 1997 Quentin Tarantino film Jackie Brown and more recently for his collaborations with Damon Albarn‘s Gorillaz project, appearing on their album Plastic Beach and during their tour in support of the 2010 album.
UPDATE 2:00pm 28/06/14: Tributes to the late soul legend have begun to pour in via social media – see below. Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, singer CeeLo Green, and rap crew De La Soul, who previously toured with Womack and Gorillaz, are among the names to pay their respects on Twitter.
Watch: Bobby Womack at Glastonbury 2013
Oh man the great Bobby Womack is gone. What a beautiful dude. Bobby forever
— Flea (@flea333) June 27, 2014
RIP Bobby Womack
— CeeLo Green (@CeeLoGreen) June 28, 2014
Just received sad news, @RealBobbyWomack passed away. We had an amazing time touring around the world with him. We love you Mr. Womack.
— De La Soul (@WeAreDeLaSoul) June 27, 2014
RIP Bobby Womack! http://t.co/kcmKP5EhaM
— QTip (@QtipTheAbstract) June 28, 2014
— the AU review (@theAUreview) June 28, 2014
Long live Bobby Womack. pic.twitter.com/bPmzgcGlHR
— XL Recordings (@XLRECORDINGS) June 28, 2014
rest in peace, Bobby Womack. thanks for the tunes <3.
— el-p (@therealelp) June 28, 2014
RIP Bobby Womack http://t.co/kf2qUgjwfv
— Big Boi (@BigBoi) June 28, 2014
R.I.P. to the soulful and ever so funky singer Mr. Bobby Womack !
— DJ Premier (@REALDJPREMIER) June 28, 2014
— Arsenio Hall (@ArsenioHall) June 28, 2014
— MC HAMMER (@MCHammer) June 28, 2014
— Rock Hall (@rock_hall) June 28, 2014
— George Clinton (@george_clinton) June 28, 2014
RIP to the great, great, great, great, very very great Bobby Womack.
— Okkervil River (@okkervilriver) June 28, 2014
— Big K.R.I.T. (@BIGKRIT) June 28, 2014
RIP Bobby Womack <3
— Surfer Blood (@surferblood) June 28, 2014