Celebrity News

Legendary American opera singer Jessye Norman, dies at 74

Renowned American opera singer Jessye Norman, who showcased her majestic yet intimate voice at opera houses and orchestras around the world, has died on Monday. The family confirmed the news. Norman was 74 years old.

A statement released to the Associated Press (AP) on Monday said the legendary singer died from septic shock and multi-organ failure. Norman also suffered complications of a spinal cord injury she had sustained in 2015. She died at a local hospital in New York and was surrounded by loved ones.

“We are so proud of Jessye’s musical achievements and the inspiration that she provided to audiences around the world that will continue to be a source of joy. We are equally proud of her humanitarian endeavors addressing matters such as hunger, homelessness, youth development, and arts and culture education,” read the family statement of Norman.

The funeral arrangements for the deceased will be announced by the family in the coming days.

Jessye Norman was born on September 15, 1945, in Augusta, Georgia. She grew up surrounded by music as one of five children in a family of amateur artists.

Norman made a foray into gospel at age four, and as a young girl began listening to radio broadcasts of performances at the Metropolitan Opera, where she has achieved the career endeavors.

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“I don’t remember a moment in my life when I wasn’t trying to sing,” she told during an interview in 2014.

She was one of the black women in the white world of classical music, She quickly got fame for her soaring voice and effervescent personality.

Norman studied music at the historically black college Howard University in Washington before going on to the Peabody Conservatory and the University of Michigan.

In 1970, the soprano established herself in Europe, making her operatic debut in Berlin in 1969 before wowing elsewhere on the continent including Italy. Later, she moved to London and spent years performing a recital and solo work.

In 1997, she became the youngest person in a two-decade history to earn a prestigious Kennedy Center Honor at age 52, and former US President Barack Obama granted her with a National Medal of Arts.

Norman performed at two presidential inaugurations, one at the opening ceremonies of the Atlanta Summer Olympics in 1996, and another at the Bicentennial of the French Revolution in Paris in 1989.

The legendary singer was also a Commander in France’s Order of Arts and Letters and has an orchid named after her there.

Samra Mazhar

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