R&B singer Cecil Womack dies aged 65


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The Independent Culture

"Teardrops" singer Cecil Womack has died, aged 65, his brother and fellow musician has confirmed in an emotional Facebook message referencing their troubled relationship.

Bobby Womack said: "I was terribly upset when I heard about my brother's passing, and I still am."

"We made music together for a long time, but we've had many differences over the years."

Soul singer Cecil performed with his second wife Linda Cooke under the name Womack and Womack and was best known for their fourth album Conscience.

The Ohio-born R&B star started out singing gospel with his four elder brothers under the name The Womack Brothers and later The Valentinos.

They toured with and were hugely influenced by soul artist Sam Cooke but the brothers disbanded after Cooke was shot dead aged 33.

Cecil courted controversy by proposing to Cooke's daughter Linda when she was just 12. She turned him down and they both led separate lives for a long time. He went on to marry Motown singer Mary Wells, with whom he had three children, but they divorced in 1976.

Linda and Cecil rekindled their relationship, married and have stayed together ever since.

Their relationship was complicated by the fact that Cecil's brother Bobby had already married Linda's mother, Sam Cooke's widow Barbara, some years earlier. Bobby and his stepdaughter, and Cecil's subsequent wife, Linda had also had a brief affair.

In an interview with The Independent Cecil described meeting Linda: "The first thing that struck me was her maturity. At eight years old she seemed like an 18- year-old. I had always felt quite adult for my age, and so when I met her I spoke to her as an equal all evening."

In his Facebook message Bobby Womack referenced the familial rift: "Thankfully we got a chance to reunite last year after a very long separation - and little did I know that it would be the last time I would see him."

"I can only pass along what I have now learned, which is to not let anything - money, success, etc, come between you and your family."

After a trip to Nigeria in the 1990s Linda and Cecil discovered ancestral ties to the Zekkariyas tribe and began calling themselves Zeriiya and Zekkariyas.

They moved to Africa which is where Cecil died on 1 February.