Richie Havens, Folk Star Who Opened Woodstock, Dies at 72

04/22/2013 at 05:30 PM EDT

Richie Havens Dead at 72
Richie Havens
Bobby Bank/Wireimage
Richie Havens, who sang and strummed for a sea of people at Woodstock, has died at 72.

His family says in a statement that Havens passed away Monday of a heart attack.

Havens, a folk singer and guitarist, performed at the 1969 Woodstock Festival. He returned to the site during the 40th anniversary in 2009.

The performer was born in Brooklyn. He was known for his crafty guitar work and cover songs.

Havens said in a 2009 interview with The Associated Press about Woodstock: "Everything in my life, and so many others', is attached to that train."

A public memorial will be planned for a later date.

"Richie played the most legendary music festivals that ever were, and most of the world’s greatest concert venues," reads a statement on his website.

"But even when performing in a Greenwich Village coffeehouse or a small club or regional theater, he was eternally grateful that people in any number turned up each time to hear him sing."

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