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24 December 2021, 12:30 | Updated: 19 January 2022, 16:52
If there's one person you picture when you think of opera, chances are it's Luciano Pavarotti.
The Italian operatic tenor was one of the few in his genre to successfully crossover into popular music, thanks to his incredible voice and magnetic presence on stage.
Pavarotti was one of the most celebrated tenors of all time, achieving worldwide fame and earning the title 'King of the High Cs'.
As one of the Three Tenors, he found a whole new audience when they performed their first concert during the 1990 FIFA World Cup. His most famous performance was that of 'Nessum Dorma', which became his signature song.
Pavarotti sold over 100 million records, with the first Three Tenors recording becoming the best-selling classical album of all time.
He was also known for his charity work on behalf of refugees and the Red Cross, and he often collaborated with many other artists from a variety of genres.
Luciano Pavarotti was born in 1935 near Modena in Northern Italy.
His parents were Fernando Pavarotti, a baker and amateur tenor, and Adele Venturi, a cigar factory worker.
His family were poor, and shared a tiny two-room apartment. Pavarotti later said that his father had a fine tenor voice but rejected a singing career because of nervousness.
Luciano Pavarotti sings "Nessun dorma" from Turandot (The Three Tenors in Concert 1994)
After abandoning a dream of becoming a football goalkeeper, Pavarotti spent seven years in vocal training. His earliest musical influences were his father's records, including tenors Beniamino Gigli, Giovanni Martinelli, Tito Schipa, and Enrico Caruso.
Pavarotti began studying music in 1954 aged 19 with Arrigo Pola, a respected teacher and professional tenor in Modena.
In 1955, he became a member of the Corale Rossini, a male voice choir from Modena that also included his father, and they won first prize at the International Eisteddfod in Llangollen, Wales.
He later said that this was the most important experience of his life, leading him to pursue a career in music professionally.
Pavarotti was married twice.
He was first married to Adua Veroni from 1961 to 2000.
In December 2003, he married his former personal assistant, Nicoletta Mantovani.
With his first wife Adua, he had three daughters: Lorenza, Cristina, and Giuliana.
He also had another daughter, Alice, with second wife Nicoletta. Alice's twin brother, Riccardo, was stillborn after complications in January 2003.
While embarking on an international 'farewell tour', Pavarotti was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in July 2006.
He underwent major abdominal surgery, but he died at his home in Modena on September 6, 2007. He was aged 71.
After his death, his manager Terri Robson stated: "The Maestro fought a long, tough battle against the pancreatic cancer which eventually took his life. In fitting with the approach that characterised his life and work, he remained positive until finally succumbing to the last stages of his illness".
Pavarotti's funeral was held at Modena Cathedral. Prime Minister Romano Prodi and Kofi Annan were in attendance, while the Frecce Tricolori, the aerobatic demonstration team of the Italian Air Force, flew overhead.