Born: May 14, 1943; Died: October 25, 2014

Scottish musician Jack Bruce, widely regarded as one of the best bass guitarists ever and a member of 1960s "supergroup" Cream, has died aged 71.

A classically trained cellist, Bruce was also a multi-instrumentalist and accomplished jazz musician, and as a songwriter and composer he saw his work covered by artists as varied as Jimi Hendrix, Ella Fitzgerald, David Bowie and Foo Fighters.

But it was alongside guitarist Eric Clapton and drummer Ginger Baker in the trio Cream that he found fame as a rock star. The band were only properly in existence for two years but released four albums, which sold 30 million copies.

After Cream's acrimonious split, Bruce played in other starry blues and rock line-ups, worked as a guest musician on albums such as Berlin, Lou Reed's 1973 follow-up to Transformer, and recorded and toured regularly as a solo artist until 2003.

Born in Bishopbriggs on May 14, 1943 to a factory worker father and a mother who worked in a bakery and as a hospital cleaner, Bruce grew up in a council flat and was a gifted musician from an early age.

He attended Bellahouston Academy and later won a scholarship to the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (RSAMD).

He was admitted to study cello and composition, but by the age of 16 he had already fallen in love with the double bass, having spotted one in a school music room, and was earning money on the Glasgow music scene with groups such as Jimmy McHarg's Scotsville Jazz Band.

Bruce never completed his studies at the RSAMD. Instead he left to tour Italy with the Murray Campbell Big Band - he travelled to Coventry to ­audition aged 17, after seeing an advert in the Melody Maker - and by 1962 the self-confessed "jazz snob" was in London playing with R&B band Blues Incorporated. The drummer was one Charlie Watts, but when he left to join the Rolling Stones he was replaced by the man who would go on to partner Bruce in one of the most iconic rock acts of the decade - Peter "Ginger" Baker.

Although their relationship often bordered on the hostile - Bruce would later claim a knife was once pulled during a quarrel - the pair went on to form the Graham Bond Quartet. Bruce then joined John Mayall And The Bluesbreakers, featuring a young Eric Clapton, and later Manfred Mann. When Baker asked Clapton to join him in an un-named new venture, the guitarist suggested Bruce as the third member. Despite his misgivings, Baker agreed.

Driven by Baker's propulsive ­drumming, and blending blues-based hard rock with psychedelia and no small amount of songwriting nous, Cream were a sensation. They were also famously loud, with Baker blaming his subsequent hearing damage on the towering stacks of Marshall amps the band used.

They scored top ten hits in America with singles Sunshine Of Your Love and White Room, and had a UK top 20 hit with I Feel Free. And while their first album, 1966's Fresh Cream, contained covers of blues songs such as Willie Dixon's Spoonful, by the time they released their second, 1967's Disraeli Gears, Bruce had taken on the bulk of the songwriting duties and was singing most of the lead vocals. A third album, Wheels Of Fire, came out in July 1968 and went to number one in the American charts.

But ongoing rivalries and a frantic touring schedule took their toll, and Cream announced their dissolution just four months later. Typically, they ended with a farewell tour that included two concerts at the Albert Hall - filmed by the BBC and broadcast in January 1969 - and in February 1969 they released a fourth, post break-up album. Appropriately, it was titled Goodbye.

Clapton and Baker briefly formed Blind Faith, while Bruce set off on a long solo career that began with 1969's musically challenging Songs For A Tailor.

Critics have revisited many of his subsequent solo albums in recent years but financially they put him on a downward spiral not helped by his drug use - "Way too much of my money was squandered on that," he said in 2011 - and by restrictive contracts signed during his Cream heyday which denied him his fair share of royalties. It was only in the 1990s that he was able to recoup some of what was owed to him.

In March of this year Bruce released Silver Rails, his first solo album in over a decade. "I kind of fell out of love with the recording process and life got in the way," he said at the time, explaining how he had had no intention of making another record until a friend persuaded him to return to the studio. "But then I thought 'what a great time to do that' because I've had this amazing life in music and I can look back over that and also kind of sideways, if you know what I mean."

Jack Bruce died on Saturday at his home in Suffolk, of liver disease. He is survived by his second wife, Margrit, four children and a grand-daughter. His first marriage, to Janet Godfrey, ended in 1980.