Famous opera star Luciano Pavarotti dies

Luciano Pavarotti, whose vibrant high Cs and ebullient showmanship made him the most beloved and celebrated tenor since Caruso and one of the few opera singers to win crossover fame as a popular superstar, died on Thursday. He was 71. His manager, Terri Robson, said in an email statement that Pavarotti died at his home in Modena, Italy, at 5 am. Pavarotti had been diagnosed with pancreatic can cer in 2006 and underwent further treatment in August.

"The Maestro fought a long, tough battle against the pancreatic cancer which eventually took his life. In fitting with the approach that characterized his life and work, he remained positive until finally succumbing to the last stages of his illness," the statement said.

Speaking from inside Pavarotti's home, which was guarded by the police, Pavarotti's assistant Edwin Tinoco told Sky TG 24 that Pavarotti's final days had been "tranquil."

For serious fans, the unforced beauty and thrilling urgency of Pavarotti's voice made him the ideal interpreter of the Italian lyric repertory, especially in the 1960s and '70s when he first achieved stardom. For millions more, his charismatic performances of standards like "Nessun dorma" from Puccini's Turandot came to represent what opera is all about.

In fact, "Nessun Dorma" was Pavarotti's last performance, sung at the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy, in February 2006. His last full scale concert was in Taipei in December 2005.

It was the second monumental loss in the opera world in recent months. American soprano Beverley Sills, whose widespread popularity mirrored Pavarotti's, died on July 2 at her home in New York. She was 78 and suffered from cancer

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