Folk legend Bert Jansch dies at 67

By GREGORY KATZ | October 5, 2011 | 9:55 AM EDT

LONDON (AP) — Legendary folk guitarist Bert Jansch died in London Wednesday after a long battle with lung cancer, his spokesman said. He was 67.

Jansch was a founding member of the influential group Pentangle, which won wide acclaim in the late 1960s and 1970s, and he also enjoyed a solo career that spanned five decades and more than 25 albums.

Known for his gentle eloquence on the acoustic guitar, Jansch was a central figure in the British folk music revival in the 1960s and played to appreciative audiences throughout the world for many decades.

Pentangle was hailed by critics and fans for providing modern renditions of classic folk songs, helping to keep traditional music alive and vibrant, and also for innovative, jazz-inflected new material.

His final performance was at a reunion of Pentangle at London's Royal Festival Hall on Aug. 1, spokesman Mick Houghton said. That followed solo performances earlier this year when he opened for Canadian rocker Neil Young.

Houghton, who had known Jansch since his early days on the music scene, said the guitarist died at the Marie Curie Hospice in north London. Jansch had recently been forced to cancel several planned solo concerts because of his failing health.

Houghton described the Scottish-born Jansch as a modest man who did not seek the spotlight despite his reputation as a virtuoso.

"I don't know anyone who had less of a sense of celebrity. He was always very self-effacing and critical adulation was completely irrelevant to him."

Folk singer Eddi Reader called Jansch "a gentle, gentle gentleman." In a message on Twitter she said: "God speed, darlin' Bert — get us on the guest list."

Jansch is survived by his wife, Loren, and son, Adam.