Joe Cocker, rock and blues star, dies at 70

Joe Cocker dies at 70 at his home in Colorado

Joe Cocker, a musician best known for hits such as "With a Little Help From My Friends," "Have a Little Faith," and "You Are So Beautiful," has died.

Cocker died at his home in Colorado on Monday after a battle with lung cancer, his agent's office and a spokesman for Sony Music Entertainment confirmed. He was 70.

In a statement, Sony Music Chairman and CEO Edgar Berger called Cocker a "legendary artist of rock and blues history" and "one of the most humble men I've ever met."

"His iconic voice will forever be etched in our memories," Berger, who signed Cocker to the label, said in a statement. "Joe will live on in the hearts of millions of fans around the world."

His agent, Barrie Marshall, called him "without a doubt, the greatest rock/soul voice ever to come out of Britain."

The Sheffield, England-born rocker got his start playing local pubs in northern England as while working at a gas company, singing as Vance Arnold and the Avengers.

In 1968, Cocker's breakout album, "With a Little Help From My Friends," featuring a cover of the Beatles song of the same name, helped launch him to fame.

A year later, a captivating performance at Woodstock cemented his place among the British rock greats of the late 1960s. He was one of the few original Woodstock alums to play the concert's 25th anniversary revival.

In a statement, Paul McCartney called Cocker a "lovely northern lad who I loved a lot" and said he was "especially pleased" when Cocker decided to cover "With a Little Help From My Friends."

"It was just mind blowing, totally turned the song into a soul anthem and I was forever grateful for him for doing that," McCartney said in a statement released by his publicist.

Cocker became known for his presence onstage, where he frequently flailed his arms wildly. In an iconic television moment, John Belushi mimicked those movements as Cocker joined in during a 1976 "Saturday Night Live" performance.

Cocker released more than 20 albums over his career, and became known for his gravelly voice and a sound influenced by Ray Charles and other American soul and blues singers. His last album, "Fire It Up," was released in 2012.

In 2007, Cocker was honored by Queen Elizabeth with an Order of the British Empire for his contributions to music. That same year, he returned to his hometown of Sheffield to unveil a plaque naming him a "Sheffield Legend."

Survivors include his wife, Pam Cocker, his brother, Victor Cocker, his stepdaughter, Zoey Schroeder, and two grandchildren.

A full obituary will follow at latimes.com/obits.

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times

UPDATES

12:43 p.m. Updated with more details and a comment from Paul McCartney.

12:02 p.m. Updated with more details about Cocker's life.

This post was originally published at 11:31 a.m.

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