A world renowned Irish singer, songwriter and storyteller has died. Tommy Makem, 74, had been battling lung cancer, according to a message on his Web site.

Armed with his banjo, tinwhistle, poetry, stagecraft and baritone voice, Makem helped spread stories and songs of Irish culture.

Makem was best known while performing with The Clancy Brothers in the late 1950's and 1960's. Liam Clancy, his life-long music partner, led the tributes, telling RTE Radio in Ireland that Makem was "a man of high integrity" whose "courage really shone through towards the end."

Makem and Clancy teamed up after emigrating to America from Ireland in the late 1950's. They began their careers in acting, before they turned to music.

He received an honorary degree from the University of Ulster only last month.