Legendary English singer Joe Cocker has died at the age of 70.

The Sheffield-born singer had a career spanning more than 40 years, and was perhaps best known for his cover of The Beatles' song With A Little Help From My Friends and for Up Where We Belong.

Marshall Arts, which represented Cocker for more than 30 years, confirmed his death.

Cocker's agent Barrie Marshall described him as "without doubt the greatest rock/soul singer ever to come out of Britain."

The rock and blues veteran died today after a battle with lung cancer, leaving behind his wife Pam.

Edgar Berger, chairman and chief executive of Sony Music Entertainment International, who signed Cocker, said: "Joe Cocker is a legendary artist of rock and blues history and yet he was one of the most humble men I've ever met.

"His iconic voice will forever be etched in our memories and our thoughts go out to Joe's wife Pam and his family at this difficult time. Joe will live on in the hearts of millions of fans around the world."

Beatles drummer Ringo Starr paid tribute to his friend, saying: "Goodbye and God bless to Joe Cocker from one of his friends, peace and love."

Cocker was born in May 1944 in Sheffield, where he lived until his early twenties.

He came to prominence in the early 1960s, famous for his distinctive gravelly voice.

His cover of With A Little Help From My Friends reached number one in the UK in 1968, and a year later he performed the song at the famous Woodstock Festival, which helped launch his career.

He won his first Grammy in 1983 and an Oscar for his duet with Jennifer Warnes, Up Where We Belong, from the Richard Gere film An Officer And A Gentleman, and in 2011 he received an OBE for his contribution to music.

A prolific artist, he released 40 albums during his lengthy career.

Away from music he enjoyed long walks in the mountains with his dogs, fly fishing, playing snooker with friends, and growing tomatoes in his greenhouse.

He is survived by his wife, his brother Victor, his step-daughter Zoey and two grandchildren.