Spencer Davis, best known as the multi-instrumentalist and co-founder of the eponymously named Spencer Davis Group, has died at the age of 81.

The news was delivered by his agent Bob Birk, who revealed to the BBC that the musician died Monday (Oct. 19) in his hospital room while being treated for pneumonia.

The group formed in 1963 with future star Steve Winwood on keyboards and vocals. Davis founded the group after discovering the Winwood brothers (Steve, who was then 14 and bassist Muff Winwood) playing at a pub. Pete York later joined on drums completing the early incarnation of the group.

The band scored a string of hits in the early '60s with songs such as "Gimme Some Lovin'," "I'm a Man," "Keep on Runnin'" and "Somebody Help Me." The Winwood brothers split in 1967, but Davis reformed his band and continued into the '70s. After the Spencer Davis Group split, Davis found modest success as a solo artist before taking an executive position at Island Records in the '70s.

"He was a very good friend," said Bob Birk, who had worked with the musician for more than 30 years. "He was a highly ethical, very talented, good-hearted, extremely intelligent, generous man. He will be missed."

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