Opera singer Montserrat Caballe dies in Barcelona, aged 85

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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.

FILE PHOTO: Spanish opera singer Montserrat Caballe laughs during a concert at Konzerthaus in Vienna, Austria June 22, 2011. REUTERS/Lisi Niesner/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Spanish opera singer Montserrat Caballe gestures during the Spanish Film Academy 'Goya' awards ceremony in Madrid, Spain January 30, 2005. REUTERS/Stringer/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Spanish soprano Montserrat Caballe performs during a concert at Burgos' Cathedral, northern Spain, February 16, 2007. REUTERS/Felix Ordonez/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Spanish soprano Montserrat Caballe performs during a concert in Santander, northern Spain December 9, 2006. REUTERS/Victor Fraile/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Operatic soprano Montserrat Caballe performs during the first leg of her Russian tour in the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk September 28, 2006. REUTERS/Ilya Naymushin/File Photo

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.

MADRID (Reuters)

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