BRASÍLIA-Astrud Gilberto, the Brazilian bossa nova singer best known for The Girl from Ipanema, has died aged 83. One of Brazil’s biggest stars of the 1960s and 70s, she recorded 16 albums and worked with artists ranging from Quincy Jones to George Michael. Her version of The Girl From Ipanema sold more than five million copies and helped to popularise bossa nova. Sofia Gilberto, the artist’s granddaughter, broke the news of her death on Instagram. “I’m here to bring you the sad news that my grandmother became a star today, and is next to my grandfather João Gilberto,” wrote Sofia, who is also a musician. “She was a pioneer and the best. At the age of 22, she gave voice to the English version of Girl from Ipanema and gained international fame.” Paul Ricci, a New York-based guitarist who collaborated with Gilberto, also confirmed the news on Facebook. “I just got word from her son Marcelo that we have lost Astrud Gilberto,” he wrote. “He asked for this to be posted. “She was an important part of ALL that is Brazilian music in the world and she changed many lives with her energy. RIP from ‘the chief’, as she called me.” The BBC has contacted Gilberto’s representatives for official confirmation. Born Astrud Evangelina Weinert in Bahia, she moved to Rio de Janeiro at an early age and took musical inspiration from her mother’s side of the family, where “almost everyone played an instrument”.
In her mid-teens, she fell in with a group of young people she described as a “musical clan”, whose members included the famous singer Nara Leao and acclaimed guitarist João Gilberto, who helped create bossa nova. Astrud and João married a few months after meeting, and it was their relationship that accidentally gave rise to her recording career.