In this May 1, 2008 file photo, Richie Havens plays at the opening night ceremony during the 61st International film festival in Cannes, southern France. Havens, who sang and strummed for a sea of people at Woodstock, has died at 72. His family says in a statement that Havens died Monday, April 22, 2013, of a heart attack. (AP Photo/Jeff Christensen, file)

Jeff Christensen

Folk rock icon Richie Havens died this morning at his home after suffering a massive heart attack, according to his publicist LiveLoud.

Havens was 72.

Havens was an unlikely hero of the counterculture when he became an impromptu opening act for the 1969 Woodstock Festival on a sprawling farm in upstate New York. Was was to have been a 25 minute gig turned into a three-hour mud-soaked performance.

Havens was known for his rhythmic guitar playing and soulful vocal style. He went on to have a 40-plus-year career touring and recording pop and folk songs including "Here Comes the Sun," which made it to No. 16 on Billboard's Hot 100 chart..

LiveLoud, in an email, said Havens family will plan a public memorial later.