The legendary Italian tenor passed away after losing a battle to pancreatic cancer

By People Staff
September 06, 2007 02:50 PM

Luciano Pavarotti, who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last year, died on Thursday, at 5 a.m. local time at his home in Modena, Italy.

“The Maestro fought a long, tough battle against the pancreatic cancer which eventually took his life. In fitting with the approach that characterized his life and work, he remained positive until finally succumbing to the last stages of his illness,” his manager, Terri Robson, stated.

On Aug. 8, Pavarotti was hospitalized for high fevers. But everything seemed to be going back to normal when on Aug. 25 he returned home to continue his recovery there. Then, this past Wednesday, the Italian press reported that the opera singer was in “very serious condition” and that he had lost consciousness for brief moments over the last few days. In July 2006, doctors intervened surgically in an attempt to combat the tenor’s cancer.

The son of a baker who loved opera, Pavarotti, born Oct. 12, 1935, sang in the chorus of Modena, his hometown. He made his professional debut in 1961, showing off his impressive voice all over Europe. He later became a sensation in the United States, especially in New York. But it was the concert The Three Tenors, which he performed with Spanish singers José Carreras and Plácido Domingo in the ’90s, that really put Pavarotti – and opera – in the spotlight.

“I always admired the God-given glory of his voice – that unmistakable special timbre from the bottom up to the very top of the tenor range,” Domingo, 65, remarked.

Pavarotti is survived by his wife, Nicoletta Mantovani, 36, their daughter Alice, 4, and three daughters from a previous marriage, Lorenza, Cristina and Giuliana. Plans for the star’s burial, which will take place on Saturday, are being finalized.