Opera star Luciano Pavarotti, one of the greatest tenors of the last century, died early this morning of pancreatic cancer, surrounded by his wife, sister and four daughters, in his hometown villa in Modena, Italy. He was 71. "The Maestro fought a long, tough battle," said his manager. "Fitting with the approach that characterized his life and work, he remained positive until finally succumbing to the last stages of his illness."
The charismatic "King of the High C's" stole the hearts of audiences throughout the world, including at New York's Metropolitan Opera, where he performed an astonishing 379 times. With an almost child-like demeanor, Pavarotti helped popularize opera by performing with singers from Elton John to Sting. He was diagnosed with cancer two years ago in the middle of a farewell tour. (Read more Luciano Pavarotti stories.)