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Stars pay tribute to 'soul legend' Bobby Womack

Bobby Womack performs at the Roskilde Festival in Denmark - 5 July 2013
Image caption Bobby Womack had performed regularly in recent years and played a festival two weeks before he died

Some of the biggest names in music have paid tribute to singer and songwriter Bobby Womack, who died on Friday.

Peter Gabriel said the musician was a "soul legend" while Ronnie Wood said his friend would be "greatly missed".

Womack, whose hits included Across 110th Street, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2009.

The cause of death was not announced, but he had suffered from cancer and Alzheimer's disease and battled with drug addiction.

Media captionBobby Womack's career spanned more than 50 years

He had been due to perform at the Womad music festival in Wiltshire, UK, in July.

In a statement on Saturday, Womad's founder Peter Gabriel said Womack's "songs and his voice have been so much a part of the fabric of so many musical lives".

'Signature soul scream'

Ronnie Wood, who performed Womack's It's All Over Now with The Rolling Stones, said "the man who could make you cry when he sang has brought tears to my eyes with his passing".

British soul singer Beverley Knight said he "truly epitomised passionate soul vocals" and praised his "signature soul scream".

Media captionDJ Tony Blackburn: ''He was one of the greatest soul singers of all time"

American singer-songwriter Kelis said: "There are a few people that really resonate from that era of soul music and he's definitely one of them.

"He left so much for us as a guideline and to be inspired by, musically."

Other tributes came from Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea, who said he was a "beautiful dude", and Damon Albarn, who collaborated with the singer, who tweeted: "I will see my brother in church".

Gospel singer Candi Staton, who knew Womack since childhood, said he had "a style that nobody else could ever capture".

Image caption Womack outlived many of the artists he played with when he gained attention in the 1960s
Image caption He was friends with Ronnie Wood, who performed one of the soul singer's songs with The Rolling Stones

Womack was born in 1944 in Cleveland, Ohio and began singing in a gospel group in the 1950s with his brothers.

He later gained attention after the siblings signed to SAR Records in 1960.

The brothers, including Cecil, Curtis, Harry and Friendly Jr, cut two R&B albums as the Valentinos.

Later the group broke up and Womack turned to song writing and a solo career.

He outlived many of the acts with whom he played and with whom he was friendly, including Jimi Hendrix and Wilson Pickett.

His songs were recorded by many artists, including Janis Joplin. His friend Sam Cooke persuaded him to let The Rolling Stones record It's All Over Now.

"He said, 'One day you'll be part of history, this group is gonna be huge,'" Womack told BBC Newsnight in 2012. "I said, 'Why don't they get their own songs?'"

Image caption Womack returned to the public eye when Damon Albarn collaborated with him on a Gorillaz track

He also worked as a session guitarist, appearing on recordings by Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Dusty Springfield, and Pickett.

From 1970-90, Womack charted 36 singles including That's the Way I Feel About Cha and Woman's Gotta Have It.

A series of personal tragedies including the deaths of two sons led him to drug abuse, according to the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame.

'My worst critic'

After a long musical hiatus, in 2009 he was tapped by Gorillaz co-founder Damon Albarn to record a song for the group's third album.

In 2012, Womack released his first album in more than ten years, entitled The Bravest Man in the Universe.

Media captionSoul singer Bobby Womack on his life in music

Womack told the BBC in 2013 "drugs had a lot to do with" a period spent away from the music industry prior to 2009.

"I've always been my worst critic," he said. "I think that keeps me reaching... I never take the audience for granted."

Just two weeks before his death, Womack performed at the Bonnaroo Music Festival in Manchester, Tennessee.

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