July 8, 2019 / 8:16 PM / 3 months ago

Brazil mourns bossa nova founder João Gilberto as he is buried in Rio

Maria do Ceu, wife of Brazilian singer Joao Gilberto, kisses his face during his wake in Rio de Janeiro's Municipal Theater, Brazil July 8, 2019. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Brazilians said goodbye to legendary musician João Gilberto, a founder of bossa nova, ahead of his funeral on Monday afternoon, with an outpouring of grief from some of the biggest names in the country’s music industry.

Gilberto, 88, died on Saturday in his house in Rio de Janeiro. The family did not disclose the cause of death.

The musician’s family, Brazilian celebrities and the public paid their respects in a public visitation that began on Monday morning in Rio de Janeiro’s ornately marbled Municipal Theater. Gilberto was buried later in a private ceremony in Niteroi, across Guanabara Bay from Rio.

“I want Brazil to be silent to hear João Gilberto. Let the Brazilians hear more João Gilberto,” his widow, Maria do Céu Harris, said ahead of the morning’s memorial ceremony, news website G1 reported.

Gilberto is credited with originating the bossa nova style with the release of the 1959 record “Chega de Saudade.” Bossa nova is characterized by the combination of Brazilian samba music with “cool jazz.”

Gilberto went on to popularize the genre globally with the album “Getz/Gilberto” with American saxophone player Stan Getz, selling millions of copies and winning several Grammy awards.

On that album, Gilberto sings “The Girl from Ipanema,” written by musician Antonio Carlos Jobim and poet Vinicius de Moraes, which would become one of the globe’s most recorded and played songs of all time.

Musicians Gilberto Gil and Caetano Veloso took to social media to post videos performing tributes to Gilberto and recalling the enormous influence he had on their music.

“João Gilberto was the greatest artist my soul came into contact with,” Veloso said on social media. “Before I was 18 I learned everything I knew from him and how to learn everything that was to come.”

Reporting by Ricardo Moraes in Rio de Janeiro and Jake Spring in Brasilia; Editing by Leslie Adler

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