João Gilberto, a Brazilian musician best known for his pioneering work within the Bossa Nova genre, died Saturday, his son confirmed on Facebook. He was 88.
“My father has passed. His fight was noble, he tried to maintain dignity in light of losing his sovereignty,” his son Marcelo Gilberto wrote. “I thank my family (my side of the family) for being there for him, and Gustavo for being a true friend to us, and caring for him as one of us. Lastly, I’d like to thank Maria do ceu for being by his side until the end. She was his true friend, and companion.”
Gilberto first introduced the bossa nova genre to the world in 1959 with his groundbreaking album “Chega de Saudade.” The new sound was a mix of traditional samba music and more modern jazz sounds, all tied together with Gilberto’s unique guitar playing ability.
Soon after, Gilberto partnered with American saxophone player Stan Getz to release another successful album, “Getz/Gilberto,” which sold millions of copies and won several Grammy Awards, including one for album of the year. The album also featured the duo’s hit song “The Girl from Ipanema,” which reached number five on the Billboard Hot 100.
More recently, Gilberto received an honorary doctorate in music from Columbia University in 2017.