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Joe Cocker, Woodstock Icon Best Known for Singular Style, Dies

Joe Cocker, pictured here in 2013, became a music legend for his performance at Woodstock in 1969. He died today from lung cancer, his agent said. (Photo: Getty)

Joe Cocker, pictured here in 2013, became a music legend for his performance at Woodstock in 1969. He died today from lung cancer, his agent said. (Photo: Getty)

Joe Cocker, who went from an English pub singer to international fame after his moving performance at the Woodstock Music & Arts Festival in 1969, has died from lung cancer, according to his agent. He was 70.

Cocker sang a Beatles cover, “With A Little Help From My Friends” at the music event.

His performance became an anthem for Woodstock and the counter-culture generation. His other mega-hits included “You Are So Beautiful,” and a moving duet with Jennifer Warnes on the song “Up Where We Belong.”

The latter became the theme song for the hit 1982 film “An Officer and A Gentleman,” starring Richard Gere and Debra Winger. It won both a Grammy and an Oscar.

The song also help revive his career which had been marred by heavy drug and alcohol abuse during the 1970s.

Cocker became painfully aware of his image during a performance on “Saturday Night Live.” As he sang, comedian John Belushi parodied his eccentric singing style and reputation for boozing.

During the 1980s, Cocker sobered up and became celebrated for his status as a rock icon. He toured and played numerous charity events.

Singer Billy Joel called attention to Cocker’s failing health during a Madison Square Garden concert in September. He revealed that Cocker was in ill health and should be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Cocker’s agent, Barrie Marshall, who reps for the singer in England, confirmed his death.

Cocker was born in Sheffield, England, and worked in construction by day while singing in pubs at night.

In all, he recorded 23 studio albums. His last. Fire It Up, was recorded in 2012.

Cocker retired to his ranch in Crawford, Colorado, and devoted his time to Cocker Kids’ Foundation, with his wife Pam. The charity supports local youth.

He reportedly died there with his wife by his side. He was 70.


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