Music legend Bobby Womack whose career spanned almost 7 decades is dead at age 70 according to his sister. Last year in an interview with the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Womack announced that he was diagnosed with the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. In the interview the singer-songwriter said, “The doctor said, ‘You have signs of Alzheimer’s.’ He said it’s not bad yet, but it’s going to get worse.”
Womack wrote numerous hits, including the Rolling Stones’ “It’s All Over Now.” He also wrote “If You Think You’re Lonely Now,” “That’s the Way I Feel About Cha” and “Lookin’ for a Love.”
Despite recent health struggles, Womack performed earlier this month at Annette Strauss Square in Dallas. He had recorded 17 songs that charted in Billboard’s Hot 100. Forty of his songs made it to Billboard’s top R&B chart.
Womack, who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2009 had reportedly been experiencing difficulty remembering the names of his collaborators while performing, in addition to his own song lyrics. ”How can I not remember songs I wrote? That’s frustrating,” Womack admitted.
Three months after the death of Sam Cooke in 1964, Womack married Cooke’s widow, Barbara Campbell. His group, the Valentinos disbanded and Womack became a session musician, playing guitar on several albums, including Aretha Franklin’s landmark Lady Soul, before releasing his debut album, Fly Me to the Moon, in 1968. A string of successful R&B albums would follow, including Understanding and Across 110th Street, both released in 1972, 1973’s Facts of Life and 1974’s Lookin for a Love Again.
After the death of his brother, Harry, in 1974, Womack’s career stalled, but was revived in 1981 with the R&B hit “If You Think You’re Lonely Now.” Throughout most of the 1980’s, Womack struggled with drug addiction, eventually checking himself into a rehabilitation center for treatment. A series of health problems would follow, including diabetes, pneumonia, colon cancer and the early signs of Alzheimer’s disease, though it was unclear if any of these ailments contributed to his death. Womack was declared cancer-free in 2012.
Upon his death, Womack was in the process of recording his next album, tentatively titled The Best Is Yet to Come and reportedly featuring contributions by Stevie Wonder, Rod Stewart and Snoop Dogg.
Womack was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2009. “My very first thought was — I wish I could call Sam Cooke and share this moment with him,” Womack said. “This is just about as exciting to me as being able to see Barack Obama become the first black President of the United States of America! It proves that, if you’re blessed to be able to wait on what’s important to you, a lot of things will change in life.”
Click here to read “2012 Facts and Figures Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures.” According to the study, “older African-Americans and Hispanics are proportionately more likely than older whites to have Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.”
Multiple press reports were included in this article.