Atlanta 4/24/2013 12:06:21 AM
News / Music

Woodstock Opener Richie Havens Dies

Richie Havens, a folk singer and guitarist who performed at Woodstock, passed away suddenly on Monday. Havens’ family says he died of a heart attack. He was 72-years-old.

Havens’ death was announced in a statement on his website. It reads:

“Beloved folk icon Richie Havens died Monday morning in his home from a sudden heart attack. He was 72.

Havens first became part of musical history during his impromptu opening performance at the 1969 Woodstock Festival. Best known for his distinctive intense, rhythmic guitar style and soulful covers of pop and folk songs, Havens toured and recorded music for over 40 years before retiring from the road 3 years ago. Beyond his music, those who have met Havens will remember his gentle and compassionate nature, his light humor and his powerful presence.

While his family greatly appreciates that Richie’s many fans are also mourning this loss, they do ask for privacy during this difficult time.

A public memorial will be planned for a later date.”

Over his long career, Haven recorded 30 albums. He is perhaps best known for opening the Woodstock Festival in 1969. Haven ended up playing for nearly 3 hours because another performer’s equipment got stuck in traffic. He returned for the 40th anniversary Woodstock Festival in 2009.

Haven is survived by 3 children, 5 grandchild and 2 great-grandchildren.


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