US folk singer Pete Seeger dies aged 94

Tuesday 28 January 2014 22.46
Pete Seeger performs in the Clearwater Benefit Concert at Madison Square Garden in 2009
Pete Seeger performs in the Clearwater Benefit Concert at Madison Square Garden in 2009

American folk singer Pete Seeger has died at the age of 94.

Seeger was known for renditions of songs such as "If I had a hammer" and "Where have all the flowers gone".

He was also known for popularising the hymn of the civil rights movement, "We Shall Overcome".

The singer passed away yesterday in New York after being hospitalised for a week.

His death was confirmed by his grandson, Kitama Cahill Jackson, who said Seeger died of natural causes at New York-Presbyterian Hospital.

Seeger played 12-string guitar or five-string banjo.

He sang topical songs and children's tunes, as well as anthems, and often urged his audience to sing along.

Seeger sang for the labour movement in the 1940s and 1950s, and for civil rights marches and anti-Vietnam War rallies in the 1960s.

He also intoned for environmental and anti-war causes in the 1970s and beyond.

Seeger was a mentor to folk and topical singers in the 1950s and 1960s, among them Bob Dylan and Don McLean.

Bruce Springsteen drew on Seeger's work in his 2006 album, "We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions," from Seeger's repertoire of traditional music about turbulent American life.

At a Madison Square Garden concert celebrating Seeger's 90th birthday, Springsteen introduced him as "a living archive of America's music and conscience, a testament of the power of song and culture to nudge history along".

Former US President Bill Clinton praised the singers great heart and commitment to social justice, while singer Neil Diamond described Mr Seeger as a messenger of universal love and peace.