(Reuters) – Raspy-voiced, Grammy-winning singer Joe Cocker, best known for his cover of the Beatles’ “With A Little Help From My Friends” and “You Are So Beautiful,” has died, his agent said today. He was 70.
The death was confirmed by Marshall Arts, the company of Cocker’s agent, Barrie Marshall, in England, which gave no other details.
Cocker was born in Sheffield, England, and worked as a gas fitter while pursuing a singing career, covering Motown songs in pubs in northern England in the 1960s.
He became known as a white soul singer and for his unique stage presence, twisting his body and face into contortions as he sang with his signature husky delivery.
A recording and touring artist in the 1970s, Cocker struggled with alcohol and drug abuse. He had a big hit in 1974 with “You Are So Beautiful,” co-written with Billy Preston.
His career revived in 1982, singing “Up Where We Belong” in a duet with Jennifer Warnes in the film An Officer and A Gentleman, which won both a Grammy and an Oscar.
He recorded 23 studio albums, including ‘Fire It Up’, his last in 2012.
Cocker lived in Crawford, Colorado, where he and his wife, Pam, had set up the Cocker Kids’ Foundation to support local youth.