Opera icon & ‘Barcelona’ singer Montserrat Caballe dies at 85

One of the best-known operatic sopranos in history, Montserrat Caballe, has died in her home town of Barcelona, said the hospital where had been receiving treatment.

The 85-year-old diva was admitted to the Hospital Sant Pau since late last month, to receive help for a chronic gallbladder issue. However, Caballe’s family requested the exact cause of death not be released, hospital spokesman Abraham del Moral told AP.

Her funeral is scheduled for Monday.

“The great lady of the opera, a legend of universal culture, the best among the best,” said the Spanish royal family in a tribute sent out through Twitter. “Her personality and her unique voice will always be with us. We are very sorry for her loss.”

“Montserrat Caballe, her voice and her tenderness, will always stay with us,” said Pedro Sanchez

Born to a working-class Catalan family, Montserrat Caballe, who was named after a local monastery, received an elite musical education.

She rose to international fame after a stunning performance as a last-minute replacement for another legend, Marylin Horne, at New York’s Carnegie Hall in 1965, and sang in over 80 roles on leading stages around the world.

Known for her tone, remarkable vocal control, and ability to master new parts, Caballe also gained popularity for her down-to-earth personality and light-hearted demeanor.

She crossed over into the wider public consciousness after a duet with close friend and fan, Queen singer Freddie Mercury, for the 1987 hit Barcelona, which became the official anthem of the 1992 Olympics.

The singer retired from regular opera performances the same year, but continued to make guest appearances, and served as a public ambassador. She had been plagued by a range of health problems in recent years, culminating in a stroke in 2012.

She leaves behind her husband, fellow opera star Bernabe Marti, to whom she was married for over 50 years, and two children, including classical singer Montserrat Marti.

RT sat down for a wide-ranging and forthright interview with Caballe in 2014. You can watch it below.

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