Brazilian bossa nova icon João Gilberto has died, aged 88

9 July 2019, 17:09

Joao Gilberto
Joao Gilberto. Picture: Getty

The singer and musician was a leading pioneer of the bossa nova genre, which was huge back in the 1960s.

Gilberto died at his home in Rio de Janeiro after a short illness, his son confirmed on Facebook at the weekend.

"His fight was noble, he tried to maintain dignity," Marcelo Gilberto said.

Born in Bahia in 1931, Gilberto began his career aged 18. His release Chega de Saudade in the late 1950s was a landmark moment in Brazilian music.

Gilberto's style was known to be a unique mix of traditional and modern musical influences, which later inspired many artists.

In 1964, he teamed up with America saxophone player Stan Getz, and their album sold millions of copies around the world.

Desafinado by Joao Gilberto

He first married the singer Astrud, who collaborated with him on the hit song 'The Girl from Ipanema'. The couple had a son together, but later divorced.

He then married the singer Miúcha, who died in 2018. They had a daughter, Bebel Gilberto, also a singer. Gilberto also had a daughter with journalist Claudia Faissol.

Gilberto lived alone from 2009, and his final years were sadly marred by money issues and declining health. In 2011, he was sued and evicted from an apartment in Leblon by his landlord, Countess Georgina Brandolini d'Adda.

Last Played Songs