Legendary Tenor Pavarotti Dies at 71
Local news agency ANSA was quoted as saying that he had died overnight and a hearse was in front of his villa in the town.
Late Wednesday Italian media said his condition had taken a sharp turn for the worse with news agency AGI saying he was in "very grave condition."
Pavarotti was discharged on Aug. 25 after diagnostic tests were completed to convalesce at home, 17 days of treatment at a hospital in Modena due to a fever. He underwent operation for pancreatic cancer in July last year, news reports said. He also had at least five rounds of chemotherapy.
Following his surgery Pavarotti cancelled subsequent concerts, sparking fears that he might never perform in public again. He was forced to abandon a 40-concert farewell tour that began in May 2004.
As the beloved tenor known for his spectacular voice and larger-than-life personality, the legendary tenor possessed a once-in-several-generations voice perfect in weight and timber for classic 19th-century roles by Italian composers Gaetano Donizetti, Vincenzo Bellini, Giuseppe Verdi and Giacomo Puccini.
Early in his career, Pavarotti made sensational debut after sensational debut. His ability to throw off the high notes Tonio sings during a signature aria in Donizetti's The Daughter of the Regiment earned him the moniker "the King of High Cs."
His 1972 performance of the role at the Metropolitan Opera lit the rocket that took him to worldwide recognition.
Much later in Pavarotti's career, critics and connoisseurs would brighten every time they heard reminders of that brilliant beginning in a voice and stage persona weighted down by celebrity and the natural darkening of the voice that comes with age.
As his fame grew, however, Pavarotti the opera singer became Pavarotti the celebrity.
He began singing in arenas and casinos_ a trend that culminated in several years of round-the-world concerts by the Three Tenors.
They made Pavarotti, Placido Domingo and Jose Carreras, as well as Metropolitan Opera conductor James Levine, rich and famous.
At his heart, though, Pavarotti was a simple man blessed with enormous talent. His genes certainly were right. Throughout his career, he pointed to his father as a better singer.
Their home was Modena, where Pavarotti was born in 1935 (soprano Mirella Freni was a childhood friend). He was an ordinary youth, had an interest in soccer and became a teacher and then an insurance salesman.
The latter job allowed him to take voice lessons. His 1961 win in an important Italian voice competition led to debuts all over Italy. Soon after, he began conquering Europe and then the world.