Father of bossa nova died on Saturday afternoon in his house in Rio de Janeiro
Brazilian musician Joo Gilberto, 88, died on Saturday afternoon in his house in Rio de Janeiro, relatives confirmed through messages in social media.
On his Facebook account, his son Marcelo Gilberto said his fight was noble and he tried to maintain dignity. His daughter-in-law wrote: Deep sadness. All he wanted was to be with us and to play with his granddaughter.
The family did not disclose the cause of death.
Born in Bahia, a northeastern Brazilian state, Gilberto began singing at 18. After moving to Rio de Janeiro, he released the record Chega de Saudade in 1959, which marked the beginning of the world-famous bossa nova music style.
His 1964 album Getz/Gilberto with the American saxophone player Stan Getz sold millions of copies, won several Grammy awards and popularised bossa nova around the world. It featured the hit single Girl from Ipanema, sung by Astrud Gilberto, to whom Gilberto was then married.
It was Joo Gilberto, the greatest genius of Brazilian music, who was the definitive influence on my music, singer Gal Costa wrote on social media. He will be missed but his legacy is very important to Brazil and to the world.
The journalist and bossa nova scholar Ruy Castro called the death of Gilberto a monumental loss.
He managed to create a mystique about him abroad, being who he was and not even speaking English, he told the Globo television station.
Singer Daniela Mercury called Gilberto a genius who revolutionised popular Brazilian music.
He taught us now to sing in the most beautify way in the world. Go in peace, maestro, she wrote.
As well as Marcelo, Gilberto is survived by two other children, Bebel and Luisa.