Elza Soares, one of the greatest Brazilian singers of all time, has died aged 91 at her
home in Rio de Janeiro, her publicist says.
A statement posted to her social media paid tribute to the late star, announcing that
she had died of natural causes.
It read: ‘It is with great sadness that we inform you of the death of singer and
songwriter Elza Soares, aged 91, at 3:45 pm today at her home in Rio de Janeiro, due
to natural causes.
‘Music icon, Elza sang, protested, and moved the world until the end. Pedro Loureiro,
family and Elza Team.’
It went on to say that there will be a memorial for the star at Theatro Municipal do
Rio de Janeiro on Friday, which will be open to the public from 10 am to 2 pm.
Born into poverty in the favelas of Rio De Janeiro in 1930, much of Soares life was
scarred by tragedy.
She had seven children with her first husband, at whose hands she suffered frequent
abuse, but the first two were born prematurely and died young.
Her husband died when she was 21 and she later confessed to stealing food to feed
her young family.
She later married the Brazilian footballer Garrincha, with whom she had a son who
died aged nine. The marriage lasted 17 years and she supported him during his battle
with injuries and alcoholism at the end of his career.
But despite her personal hardship, her success as a musician spanned decades and
her talent was appreciated by figures including the Queen, whom Soares met during
a 1968 visit to Brazil.