Former Cream frontman Jack Bruce dies aged 71

Sat Oct 25, 2014 2:44pm EDT
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LONDON (Reuters) - Jack Bruce, who formed influential British rock band Cream in the 1960s with guitarist Eric Clapton, has died aged 71, his family said on Saturday.

Bruce co-wrote some of Cream's biggest hits including "Sunshine of Your Love" and "I Feel Free" before the band broke up after only two years in 1968.

"The world of music will be a poorer place without him, but he lives on in his music and forever in our hearts," family members said on Bruce's website.

Bruce, who was born in Glasgow, began playing bass as a teenager and dropped out of music school because he was not allowed to play jazz.

After spells with British blues bands, he turned down an offer of work with U.S. soul singer Marvin Gaye in order to get married, according to his website.

He met Clapton while playing in another band and the two of them set up Cream in 1966 with drummer Ginger Baker.

After Cream, Bruce played with top jazz musicians including guitarist John McLaughlin and drummer Tony Williams and with rock stars such as Lou Reed and Frank Zappa. Cream reformed briefly for concerts in 1993 and 2005. The most recent of many solo albums by Bruce was released in March.

Roger Waters, the bassist of British rock band Pink Floyd, once paid tribute to Bruce, calling him "probably the most musically gifted bass player who's ever been."

British media said Bruce had been suffering from liver disease.

(Writing by William Schomberg; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky and Stephen Powell)

Legendary trio Cream (L-R) bassist Jack Bruce, guitarist Eric Clapton and drummer Ginger Baker perform at Madison Square Garden in New York October 24, 2005. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid