His manager, Terri Robson, told the Associated Press in an e-mail statement that Pavarotti died at his home in Modena, Italy, at 5 a.m. local time. Pavarotti had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last year and had further treatment in August.
More than any opera singer since that earlier Italian tenor Enrico Caruso, Pavarotti exuded the presence and enjoyed the celebrity of a matinee idol. Even if he didn't look the part, Pavarotti's face was as famous as those of the rock musicians with whom he consorted and collaborated — and at times, just as prone to turn up in the tabloids.
Critics and fans have spent years debating over potential successors, wondering which young vocalist might come closest to matching Pavarotti's medley of raw talent, unlikely glamour and populist appeal, his potential for inspiring awe and generating controversy. But no one figure seems likely to loom as large, literally and figuratively, in the near future.