Pavarotti Dies

Pavarotti Loses Cancer Battle

Opera legend Luciano Pavarotti lost his battle against pancreatic cancer and died at his home in Modena September 6th.

The huge, bearded Italian singer, thought by many to be the best tenor of his generation, was 71.

He underwent surgery for pancreatic cancer in New York City in July 2006 and retreated to his villa in Modena. He had to cancel his first public reappearance as he continued to battle with his illness.

"Without doubt he was the most popular artist of all," U.K. entertainment promoter Harvey Goldsmith CBE told Pollstar, as TV and radio stations and newspapers the world over began rolling out their tributes.

"He mixed freely in the classical as well as the rock and pop worlds and was loved by all. He wanted everyone to enjoy the great arias, which is why he performed at so many large venues.

"Even recently, after he was diagnosed with his illness and when he felt he was getting stronger, we started to plan a few performances so that he could continue his Farewell Tour – sadly, events have overtaken."

Goldsmith promoted more than 70 Pavarotti performances, including the famous concert in London’s Hyde Park in the summer of 1991, reportedly one of the great tenor’s fondest memories.

The show was televised and had a reported attendance of 70,000. It came near the end of a decade in which Pavarotti did more than anyone to bring opera to the masses. He showed them it wasn’t just the province of the elite, beginning with singing Puccini’s Nessun Dorma as the anthem of the World Cup soccer tournament in his homeland in 1990.

This was followed by the hugely successful Three Tenors concert held on the eve of the World Cup final in Rome, where he appeared alongside Plácido Domingo, José Carreras and conductor Zubin Mehta. A recording of the performance became the bestselling classical record of all time.

Following on from the original 1990 concert, Three Tenors concerts were held during the soccer World Cups in Los Angeles in 1994, Paris (1998) and in Yokohama (2002).

By linking the drama and tension of the sport with the dramatic tension of a great aria, Pavarotti had helped take opera music to football fans sitting at home in front of their televisions – and helped it acquire a new pop status.

He played the large shows Goldsmith promoted, transcending musical genres for a growing new audience in such a way that it had a ripple effect on opera house box offices throughout the world.

Apart from his singing, Pavarotti was known for his award-winning charity work. He raised money on behalf of refugees, the Red Cross, War Child, and the victims of war and civil unrest in Bosnia, Guatemala, Kosovo and Iraq, among others.

He also hosted the annual "Pavarotti and Friends" charity concerts in his home town of Modena.

He was born on its outskirts in 1935 and, apart from being forced out for a year during World War II, he’s always maintained a base in the north Italian town. Pavarotti’s survived by four daughters, three with first wife Adua and one with second wife Nicoletta Mantovani. He has one granddaughter.