Michael Lang, co-creator of the Woodstock event, died at the age of 77

Michael Lang, a co-creator and organiser of the Woodstock music festival in 1969, which became a landmark for generations of music aficionados, has passed away.

Lang, 77, had been battling non-Hodgkin lymphoma and died Saturday at New York's Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, according to a spokesperson for his family, Michael Pagnotta.

Pagnotta, who claimed he had known Lang for nearly 30 years, told The Associated Press, "He was clearly a historic character, and also a nice guy." "Both of those things are intertwined."

Approximately 400,000 people poured on Bethel, a hamlet 50 miles (80 kilometres) northwest of New York City, where they faced miles-long traffic congestion.

On the main stage, which was set at the base of a hill on land owned by farmer Max Yasgur, more than 30 acts performed, including Jimi Hendrix, Carlos Santana, The Who, and Jefferson Airplane.

Lang, who has bushy brown hair, appears in Michael Wadleigh's documentary film on the festival, which was released in 1970.

Lang and others planned to hold a performance in 2019 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the original Woodstock, but the plan was shelved due to financial difficulties.

Lang described the event as "a really odd trip" in an interview with the Associated Press at the time, and said he planned to hold the concert again in the future.

Although Woodstock is frequently credited with being the first large-scale music event in the United States, it was not the first.

In a 2009 interview, Lang remarked of rival festivals, "A lot of them are fashioned after Woodstock - especially Bonnaroo and Coachella."