Legendary soul singer Bobby Womack passed away today at the age of 70, confirms his record label XL Recordings. His sister tells TMZ that Womack passed away in his sleep and the cause is still unknown. The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2012 and suffered from diabetes.
The child of two musicians, Womack’s first love was the guitar, which he started playing as a child. By 10, he was part of his family’s gospel act, touring the country as The Womack Brothers. Legendary singer Sam Cooke signed Womack and his brothers to his label in 1961.
Womack’s career would span over six decades and though sometimes marred by scandal (he married Cooke’s widow three months after his death) and bouts with drug abuse, he evolved into one of the most respected musicians and songwriters of his day. He recorded timeless R&B classics like “If You Think You’re Lonely Now” and “Woman’s Gotta Have It.”
Later in his life Womack enjoyed a renaissance of sorts as newer bands began discovering his work. UK producer Damon Albarn of the The Gorillaz co-produced his 2012 The Bravest Man Alive, which got him back on the road, performing at festivals like Bonnaroo earlier this month, and The North Sea Jazz Festival in 2013. He was scheduled to go on a European tour this summer.
Our condolences to his family.