Renowned soprano Montserrat Caballe, who brought opera into the pop charts by singing “Barcelona” with Freddie Mercury, died aged 85 early on Saturday, hospital officials said.
The Spanish singer died in Sant Pau hospital in the city of Barcelona, staff there said, without giving further details. She had been suffering from ill health for a number of years, news agency EFE reported.
The ‘Gran Teatre del Liceu’ opera house in Barcelona, where Caballe performed more than 200 times, described her as “one of the most important sopranos in history”.
Spain’s royal family called her “the great lady of the opera, a legend of universal culture, the best among the best”.
“Her personality and her unique voice will always be with us. We are very sorry for her loss,” the royals said in a tweet.
Caballe was born in Barcelona, and began her professional career in Basel in 1956, as Mimi in La Bohème.
She released the song “Barcelona” with the Queen frontman in 1987 – and it was used again during the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, a year after Mercury’s death.