Sir Paul McCartney has paid tribute to Joe Cocker.

The Beatles star - whose hit 'With A Little Help From My Friends' Joe famously covered - sent a heartfelt message to the Sheffield-born singer who passed away, aged 70, yesterday (22.12.14) at his home in Colorado after battling lung cancer.

He said in a statement to the Mirror newspaper: ''It's really sad to hear about Joe's passing. He was a lovely northern lad who I loved a lot and like many people I loved his singing.

''I was especially pleased when he decided to cover With A Little Help From My Friends.... it was just mind blowing.

''He totally turned the song into a soul anthem and I was forever grateful for him for doing that.

''I knew him through the years as a good mate and I was so sad to hear that he had been ill and really sad to hear today that he had passed away. He was a great guy, a lovely guy who brought so much to the world and we'll all miss him.''

The 72-year-old singer's former bandmate Ringo Starr also paid tribute to the 'You Are So Beautiful' hitmaker.

He wrote on Twitter to his 581,000 followers: ''Goodbye and God bless to Joe Cocker from one of his friends peace and love. R.''

Joe enjoyed a career spanning four decades and was one of only a few artists to play at the original Woodstock festival in 1969 and the one in 1994.

He began his career as a pub singer before he was propelled to stardom when his version of 'With A Little Help from My Friends' reached number one in the UK in 1968.

He received several prestigious awards during his career, including a Grammy in 1983 and an Oscar for Best Original Song for his duet with Jennifer Warnes, 'Up Where We Belong'.

The singer also received an OBE at Buckingham Palace for his services to music in 2007.

Billy Joel stated that Cocker ''was not very well right now'' while performing at Madison Square Garden last September, and asked that he be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.