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Grammy-Winning Opera Singer Jessye Norman Passes Away at 74

Gracious Egedegbe
Oct 01, 2019
06:29 A.M.
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Jessye Norman, a Grammy Award winner and nominee, passed away at the age of 74, at a hospital in New York.


Jessye Norman passed away during the early hours of Monday at the Mount Sinai St. Luke's Hospital in New York. She was 74 and died surrounded by family and close friends.

Jessye Norman attends the ACRIA annual holiday dinner benefiting AIDS research on December 11, 2013 in New York City | Photo: Getty Images

Jessye Norman attends the ACRIA annual holiday dinner benefiting AIDS research on December 11, 2013 in New York City | Photo: Getty Images


A statement made to People by the deceased's family's representative, Gwendolyn Quinn, read,

"It is with deep sadness, and sorrow that we announce the passing of the international opera star, Jessye Norman."

Quinn listed the cause of death as septic shock, and multi-organ failure, resulting from complications brought on by a spinal cord injury Norman suffered in 2015.

She added that the deceased's family is proud of her achievements, and described her as an inspiration, who will continue to be a source of joy to many.


Quinn said,

"We are equally proud of her humanitarian endeavors addressing matters such as hunger, homelessness, youth development, and arts and culture education."

Norman touched a lot of lives with her music, and philanthropy, and the New York Metropolitan Opera described her as, "One of the greatest sopranos of the past half-century," adding,

"Norman sang more than 80 performances, dazzling audiences with her beautiful tone, extraordinary power, and musical sensitivity."


Born in 1945, the deceased got introduced to music early in her life. As a child, she listened to opera on the radio, and by the time she was 17, she got a full scholarship to study music at Howard University.

She paid back the kindness in 2002, by opening the Jessye Norman School of the Arts, to help develop, and nurture young artistic talents.


Norman had a long successful career, with fifteen Grammy nominations and four wins to her credit. She won her first Grammy in '83 for Best classical Vocal Soloist Performance for "Ravel: Songs of Maurice Ravel."

In '98, the opera icon won a Lifetime Achievement Award, and she equally got awarded with the Kennedy Center Honor, and the National Medal of Arts. Norman's life was fulfilling, and she was indeed one of the greatest voices of opera.

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