14:46 23 April 2013
Folk singer Richie Havens, who opened the legendary 1969 Woodstock rock festival, has died of a heart attack. He was 72 years old. His agent, Roots Agency, confirmed that he passed away at his home in Jersey City, New Jersey.
Richie was famous for his distinctive rhythmic guitar and singing style. He was also famous for championing freedom and brotherhood while armed with nothing but an acoustic guitar. His improvised version of the gospel song “Motherless Child” became an anthem of the 1960s hippy generation.
Born in Brooklyn, New York, Havens moved to Greenwich Village at the age of 20 to perform poetry and learn how to play the guitar.
Fellow singer Stephen Stills said that Havens "could never be replicated".
He added: "Richie Havens was one of the nicest, most generous and pure individuals I have ever met.”
"When I was a young sprite in Greenwich Village, we used to have breakfast together at the diner on 6th Avenue next to The Waverly Theatre.”
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