The Italian music industry has paid tribute to opera great Luciano Pavarotti, who died early Thursday morning at the age of 71.

Enzo Mazza, president of labels body FIMI, commented, "Luciano Pavarotti wasn't only an extraordinary artist and interpreter, he also made a great contribution to the development of the record industry, thanks to a series of recordings that topped the international charts.”

Mazza was in London at an international industry meeting when the new broke on the legendary tenor's death. "We mustn't just think of him as an Italian artist," added Mazza, "he represented a patrimony for music the world over."

Popular Italian singer-songwriter Luciano Ligabue also paid respect. "I once had the privilege of hearing him sing from just two metres away and it was like listening to something from another world. His was the strongest voice of all," comments Ligabue, who hails from Emilia Romagna, the same region as Pavarotti.

"His physical strength was also evident when I went to visit him in Modena a couple of months ago, when he was fighting against his terrible illness, and yet, there he was, giving singing lessons to his students. It helped me understand that he wasn't just an immense talent, but he was also a man of great dedication and determination and that's what made him what he was."


Read more of Billboard’s extensive coverage of opera great Luciano Pavarotti’s life and influence on the music world, including an in-depth look at how his passing will impact all of classical music.