Folk legend Richie Havens has died at the age of 72.

The New York native, who famously opened the fabled Woodstock festival in Bethel in 1969, passed away suddenly following a heart attack at his home in New Jersey on Monday (22Apr13).

A statement from his relatives reads, "While his family greatly appreciates that Richie's many fans are also mourning this loss, they do ask for privacy during this difficult time."

Havens enjoyed a varied and lengthy performing career, and is best known for his soulful renditions of classic tracks, including Beatles hits Here Comes The Sun and Strawberry Fields.

He retired from touring in 2012.