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Soul singer Bobby Womack dies; 11 of his most epic songs

File: Bobby Womack performs at Sinnots as part of the fifth annual Arthur's Day celebrations on Sept. 26, 2013 in Dublin, Ireland.
File: Bobby Womack performs at Sinnots as part of the fifth annual Arthur's Day celebrations on Sept. 26, 2013 in Dublin, Ireland.
Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images for Guinness

Famed soul singer Bobby Womack has died at the age of 70, according to a representative for Womack's label XL Recordings.

"Sadly the reports are true," wrote Sonya Kolowrat in an email to KPCC.

His label tweeted a tribute to Womack.

Label tweet

The cause of death is unknown, though he was previously diagnosed with cancer and the early signs of Alzheimer's disease. Womack had a European tour scheduled, with dates announced beginning in the Netherlands on July 19 and ending in France on Aug. 2.

Womack was born in Cleveland, Ohio and started out in music as a member of Curtis Womack and the Womack Brothers with brothers Curtis, Cecil, Harry and Friendly, Jr. Sam Cooke signed the group in the early 1960s and released gospel singles before becoming the Valentinos and moving out of the religious musical realm.

Valentinos - It's All Over Now

Bobby Womack left the group and worked as a studio musician before releasing his own music. He played guitar on songs like "Natural Woman" by Aretha Franklin and "Suspicious Minds" by Elvis Presley, as well as tracks by Ray Charles and Wilson Pickett.

Womack famously struggled with drug addiction in the 1980s and later suffered a variety of health problems.

His last album, "The Bravest Man In The Universe," was released in 2012 — his first album since 1994. Its producers included Damon Albarn, of the Gorillaz and Blur. He also appeared on the 2010 Gorillaz album "Plastic Beach" and 2011 album "The Fall."

Gorillaz - Stylo

"I was ostracised from the music community when I was 21 [for marrying Sam Cooke's widow]," Womack said upon the release of his 2012 album, according to his website. "I feel like after 45 years Damon has welcomed me back in."

"I've listened to Bobby a lot — I've played some of his tracks on repeat for entire nights, so I've spent quite a lot of time absorbing his spirit," Albarn said.

Womack was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2009. Womack performed at the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival earlier this month, and the Associated Press reports that he seemed to be in good health and spirits.

Listen to nine more of Womack's greatest chart-topping songs, along with some lesser known classics, below:

If You Think You're Lonely Now

I Wish He Didn't Trust Me So Much (music video)

Across 110th Street (Jackie Brown)




Nobody Wants You When You're Down And Out

Pattie Labelle & Bobby Womack

Bobby Womack & the Roots: Summertime

Covers, samples and shout-outs

Womack was also widely respected, with numerous artists covering his songs and referencing Womack in their music. Some of those are included below.

K-Ci & Jojo - If You Think You're Lonely Now

Mariah Carey - We Belong Together

Jaheim - Lonely

Ahmad - Back in the Day

Nona Gaye - Woman's Gotta Have It

This story has been updated.