Jack Bruce. 1943-2014 (Getty)
Cream bassist Jack Bruce: 1943-2014 (Getty) Getty

Jack Bruce, bassist from legendary 1960s rock band Cream, has died aged 71, his publicist confirmed.

Now considered one of the most important groups in rock history, Cream also included lead guitarist Eric Clapton and drummer Ginger Baker.

Bruce wrote and sang most of the group's songs, including I Feel Free, and co-wrote arguably the group's most famous song Sunshine of Your Love with Clapton.

Bruce, Baker and Clapton during Queen\'s heyday in 1967 (Getty)
Bruce, Baker and Clapton during Cream\'s heyday in 1967. Getty

A statement on his official website said: "It is with great sadness that we, Jack's family, announce the passing of our beloved Jack: husband, father and granddad and all-round legend.

"The world of music will be a poorer place without him, but he lives on in his music and forever in our hearts."

"He died today at his home in Suffolk surrounded by his family," added his publicist.

No cause of death was given, but AP reports that Bruce had been suffering from liver disease.

A life in music

Bruce was born in the Glasgow suburb of Bishopbriggs in 1943.

His parents travelled extensively in Canada and the USA and the young Jack attended 14 different schools.

Unlike many rock musicians, Bruce had formal musical training, winning a scholarship to the Royal Scottish Academy of Music to study the cello and composition.

He left the academy and Scotland at the age of 16 and moved to London where he became a member of the influential band Alexis Korner's Blues Incorporated.

Before joining Cream, Bruce also played in bands including John Mayall's Blues Breakers and Manfred Mann.

Cream split at the height of their popularity in 1968, with Bruce claiming that they had strayed too far from their ideals.

Though never regaining the success he enjoyed with Cream, over subsequent decades Bruce came to be regarded as one of the greatest bass guitarists alive.

In May 2005 he re-united with his bandmates for a series of concerts at the Royal Albert Hall in London and in Madison Square garden in New York.

His last album, Silver Rails, was released in March.