Opera singer Montserrat Caballe, best known for her duet with Freddie Mercuryon the song “Barcelona”, has died at the age of 85.
Caballe had been in poor health and was admitted to hospital in Barcelona last month because of a gall bladder problem, according to the Spanish media. A spokesman for Hospital Sant Pau announced her death early Saturday.
In a career spanning five decades, she starred in 90 opera roles with nearly 4,000 stage performances.
The Spanish soprano had spells with the Basel Opera and Bremen Opera, and performed alongside Luciano Pavarotti and Placido Domingo.
Renowned for her bel canto technique, her breakthrough performance came in 1965 when she took on the challenging role of Lucrezia Borgia in Donizetti’s opera at the Carnegie Hall in New York City.
Caballe’s most famous performance, her duet with the Queen frontman, was originally released in 1987 and reached number eight in the UK charts.
It was re-released following Mercury’s death as the official theme for the 1992 Olympics in the Catalan capital. It charted at number two in the UK.
The star was awarded the International medal for Arts in Madrid in 2013.
In 2015 she ran into trouble with the Spanish treasury. Caballe was handed a six-month suspended prison sentence for failing to pay tax on earnings, but did not go to prison after paying a £236,000 fine.
The opera star married the Spanish tenor Bernabe Marti in 1964. The couple had two children and her daughter, Montserrat Marti, also became an operatic soprano.