Legendary Brazilian bossa nova guitarist and vocalist João Gilberto has passed away at the age of 88, according to his son Marcelo Gilberto, who took to Facebook on Saturday (July 6) to announce the news. No cause of death was revealed.
“My father has passed,” Marcelo Gilberto wrote. “His fight was noble, he tried to maintain dignity in light of losing his sovereignty.”
A pioneer of the bossa nova genre, João Gilberto blended traditional samba music and with modern jazz in the late ’50s –releasing “Bim-Bom” in 1958– and found international success the following decade. In 1962, he recorded Getz/Gilberto with American jazz saxpophonist Stan Getz, longtime friend and collaborator Antônio Carlos Jobim and his then-wife Astrud Gilberto. The album went on to become one of the best-selling jazz records of all time –selling more than two million copies in 1964– and it took home the Grammy for Album of the Year, becoming the first non-American album to do so.
Its track “The Girl from Ipanema” has become a standard in both the jazz and pop worlds. It peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 and is believed to be the second-most recorded song in history behind The Beatles’ “Yesterday.”
Gilberto is survived by his three children.