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Soul singer and songwriter Bobby Womack dead at 70

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Media captionBobby Womack's career spanned more than 50 years

Legendary soul singer and songwriter Bobby Womack, who penned hits for many of the greatest musicians of the 20th Century, has died at the age of 70.

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

His hits included It's All Over Now, performed by the Rolling Stones, and Lookin' for Love.

He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2009.


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.

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

His songs were recorded by Janis Joplin, Wilson Pickett and many others. 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?'"

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.

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Media captionIn 2012, Womack talked to Newsnight's Stephen Smith about his career

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

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.

Image caption Womack performed at the Glastonbury festival in 2013 despite being diagnosed with Alzheimer's
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Image caption Ronnie Wood of the Rolling Stones inducted Bobby Womack into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2009

Musicians who worked with the star paid tribute to his career and contribution to music.

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

"I loved him and I will miss him so, so very much" said the singer, who also toured with him.

Jason Newman from Rolling Stone Magazine said that he was one of the biggest soul acts of the day in the 1970s.

"Some of his albums and tracks are classics.. He was doing it for seven decades", he told the BBC.

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