Charles Aznavour, French singer, dies aged 94

Monday, October 1, 2018

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Charles Aznavour, French singer, dies aged 94

The French singer Charles Aznavour has died at home in Alpilles, southeastern France, according to a spokesperson. He was 94. 

President Macron was among the prominent figures who paid tribute to the man known as the French Frank Sinatra on Twitter. Macron designed Aznavour as "Deeply French, viscerally attached to his Armenian roots, recognised throughout the world", adding that he had "accompanied the joys and sorrows of three generations."

Born in Paris to Armenian immigrants in 1924, the singer and lyricist found global fame with a career that spanned more than seven decades and 1,200 songs, including a number of swooning romantic numbers that became popular in over the world.

Songs such as She, which topped the charts in record speed in 1974 and was famously covered by Elvis Costello for the opening titles of Love Actually, Dance the Old-Fashioned Way and La Bohéme saw Aznavour sell 180 million records.

The son of a singing restaurateur, Aznavour's career started early: he was nine when he took his first stage roles, and film parts followed. It was only in the late Forties, when Aznavour was in his twenties, that he began to write songs, which led to a musical career. He maintained a profession on screen, too, appearing in more than 60 films including François Truffaut's Shoot the Piano Player.

 

Although he attempted to slow down in 2006, embarking upon a farewell tour that he intended to continue beyond 2010; Aznavour's globe-trotting career continued well into his nineties. This year alone, he performed in Japan, Russia, Brazil and Australia. 

His death swiftly prompted celebrity tributes. Piers Morgan called him "one of the greatest singers the world has seen and such an intelligent, eloquent, graceful and charming man," while writer Harry Leslie Smith posted: "Just a phenomenally great artist and one of the few if not the last left from my generation."

Aznavour is survived by his third wife, Ulla Thorsell, and his children. 

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