Astrud Gilberto, ‘Girl from Ipanema’ singer who helped bring bossa nova music mainstream, has died

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Brazilian singer Astrud Gilberto, who in her 20s recorded “The Girl from Ipanema” and became an international star, has died, according to social media posts from her granddaughter and on behalf of her son.

No cause of death was immediately available. She was reportedly 83.

“I’m here to bring you the sad news that my grandmother became a star today and is next to my grandfather João Gilberto. Astrud was the true girl who took bossa nova from Ipanema to the world,” Gilberto’s granddaughter Sofia said on her Instagram page, in a statement that CNN translated from Portuguese.

Paul Ricci, a guitarist who previously worked with Gilberto, posted a message on his Facebook page on Tuesday from Gilberto’s son Marcelo, who also played the bass alongside his mother in the early eighties.

“I just got word from her son Marcelo that we have lost Astrud Gilberto. He asked for this to be posted. She was an important part of ALL that is Brazilian music in the world and she changed many lives with her energy. RIP from the “chief” as she called me,” Ricci’s statement read.

According to her official website, Gilberto grew up in Rio de Janeiro and immigrated to the United States in the early 1960s.

Stan Getz (left) and Astrud Gilberto in a scene from the film "Get Yourself A College Girl," 1964. - Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

In 1963, she was invited to participate by her then-husband João Gilberto in the recording of an album by him and Stan Getz. The short recording of a verse in English, unrehearsed and something of a surprise for Gilberto, launched her to international superstardom, with the album going on to win four Grammys.

“The Girl from Ipanema” would go on to be covered countless times by music greats, from Eartha Kitt and Frank Sinatra to Cher and Amy Winehouse.

Gilberto released at least 16 original albums dating back to her debut in 1964, which was titled “Getz Au Go Go.” Gilberto went on to record a song on the soundtrack for the 1965 film “The Deadly Affair,” the music of which was arranged by Quincy Jones.

Throughout the 1970s, Gilberto became known for her songwriting, releasing the 1972 album “Astrud Gilberto Now” and “That Girl From Ipanema” in 1977, the latter of which included a duet with famed jazz musician Chet Baker on the track titled “Far Away.”

The 1980s and ’90s proved to be a prolific period for the artist, who formed a sextet with various musicians – including her son Marcelo on Bass – and toured the world. She later released the critically lauded album “Astrud Gilberto Plus the James Last Orchestra” in 1987.

When Gilberto partnered with English singer-songwriter George Michael, one of the bestselling musicians of all time, Gilberto again gained international notoriety. Their duet “Desafinado” was released in 1996, and Gilberto became known for exposing the bossa nova genre to a pop music-loving, mainstream audience.

Gilberto released her last album “Jungle” in 2002, and went on to be inducted into the International Latin Music Hall of Fame the same year. In 2008, the Latin Recording Academy awarded her with a Lifetime Achievement award.

“I love and will love Astrud forever and she was the face and voice of bossa nova in most parts of the planet,” Gilberto’s granddaughter Sofia said in her statement on Tuesday, adding that Astrud “will forever be in our hearts.”

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