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Richie Havens Dies Aged 72
Laurie Tuffrey , April 23rd, 2013 12:56

Legendary folk musician, who famously opened the Woodstock Festival in 1969

Richie Havens, the American folk and soul singer-songwriter has died aged 72, after suffering a heartache at his home in Jersey City, New Jersey yesterday.

After starting out performing in Greenwich Village, New York in the mid-sixties, Havens released a number of studio albums before performing a landmark, almost three hour-long set at the 1969 Woodstock Festival. He continued to release albums over the following four decades, taking in both his own material and interpretations of others' songs, and played sets worldwide, including at Bill Clinton's 1993 inauguration and at the 1999 Tibetan Freedom Concert, before retiring from performance in 2010.

As well as a musician, Havens was also an actor, notably taking a lead role in Patrick McGoohan's Catch My Soul in 1974, and an ecological activist, setting up the Northwind Undersea Institute and Natural Guard organisations to teach children about environmental issues.

In a statement, his family said: "Beyond his music, those who have met Havens will remember his gentle and compassionate nature, his light humour and his powerful presence."

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