Brazilian musician Joao Gilberto, 88, who developed bossa nova music and helped turn the style into a worldwide craze, died on Saturday afternoon (July 6) in his house in Rio de Janeiro, relatives confirmed through messages in social media. Its song "The Girl From Ipanema" went on to become a jazz standard and one of the best-known pop songs of all time, peaking at #5 on the Billboard Hot 100.
The memories were likely a pleasant escape from the pressures of recent years, aggravated by the death in December of his ex-wife Miucha, another name associated with the explosion of Brazilian music in the late 1950s.
Reports say Gilberto died at home in Rio de Janeiro after a period of illness. Gilberto's daughter, Bebel, who is also a singer, was expected to arrive in Brazil on Sunday.
Bernardo Araujo, a music critic for the daily O Globo newspaper, said a year ago that Gilberto's importance was "immeasurable".
Soon after, Gilberto partnered with American saxophone player Stan Getz to release another successful album, "Getz/Gilberto", which sold millions of copies and won several Grammy Awards, including one for album of the year.
Journalist and bossa nova expert Ruy Castro called the death of Gilberto a "monumental" loss.
"Mr Castro wrote in his book The Wave That Built In The Sea" that Gilberto loved football and was a fan of the Fluminense club, whose games he liked to watch with a guitar in his hands.
The album's breakout hit featured Gilberto's then-wife Astrud on a sultry vocal of the song "Garota de Ipanema (Girl From Ipanema)".
"He was the leading voice of the best-known Brazilian style in the world and a revolutionary without even really meaning to be", Araujo told AFP.
"He managed to create a mystique about him overseas, being who he was and not even speaking English", he told Globo television. He said Gilberto's son, João Marcelo, will not be able to come to Brazil because he is renewing his visa in the United States and can't leave the country.
For the past decade, Joao Gilberto lived alone in Rio, struggling with mental health and financial issues. "He taught us how to sing in the most handsome way in the world".