R&B star Cecil Womack has died at the age of 65.

The singer-songwriter passed away on Friday (01Feb13) in Africa, where he lived with his wife and writing partner Linda Cooke.

As a youngster, he was part of a gospel group with his brothers Bobby, Harry, Friendly and Curtis, and they were spotted by Sam Cooke of the Soul Stirrers.

Cooke nurtured the group and they changed their name to The Valentinos.

However, Womack preferred writing and producing, and penned tracks for stars including Teddy Pendergrass and Patti LaBelle, as well as his first wife Mary Wells.

Womack and Linda, who was the daughter of Cooke, moved to Africa in recent years so the star could explore his African heritage.