Ronnie Wood's tears for soul legend Bobby Womack

Bobby Womack (R) performs with Ronnie Wood of the Rolling Stones in 2009. Photo: Reuters

Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood today expressed his sadness that his friend Bobby Womack, the inspirational R&B singer-songwriter, has died.

The 70-year-old musician's publicist Sonya Kolowrat said Womack had died yesterday but did not give any other details.

He was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease two years ago and dealt with a number of health issues, including prostate cancer. Wood tweeted:

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I'm so sad to hear about my friend Bobby Womack ~ the man who could make you cry when he sang has brought tears to my eyes with his passing.

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My heart goes out to his family & friends and everyone who loved his music. Bobby you will be greatly missed xx

Gospel singer Candi Staton knew Womack since they were children and she toured with him. "He had a style that nobody else could ever capture," she said in a statement. "I loved him and I will miss him so, so very much."

Womack had performed recently at the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in Tennessee and appeared to be in good health and spirits.

The star caught the attention of the Stones in the 1960s and influenced many early rockers before fading from popular music for more than a decade.

Damon Albarn (left) of Gorillaz performing with special guest Bobby Womack at the O2 Arena in 2010 Credit: PA

Blur singer Damon Albarn and XL Recordings president Richard Russell helped Womack re-launch his career with critically-acclaimed comeback album The Bravest Man In The Universe, in 2012.

He had been scheduled to perform at various events in Europe in July and August.