The legendary French singer Charles Aznavour has died aged 94, his spokeswoman told AFP. The songwriter, who had just returned from a concert tour of Japan last month, died in his home in Alpilles in southeastern France. He had to cancel several shows last year after breaking his arm in a fall.
Aznavour, once named “Entertainer of the Century” by CNN because of his immense global popularity, was dubbed France’s Frank Sinatra. But unlike the American crooner, he wrote his own songs, often breaking taboos about marriage, homosexuality and men talking about their emotions. Born Shahnour Varinag Aznavourian in Paris on May 22, 1924, to parents who had fled the genocide of ethnic Armenians as the Ottoman empire fell, Aznavour sold more than 180 million records in a career spanning eight decades and as many languages.
Aznavour got his big break after World War II when he opened for the then rising French star Edith Piaf. She took him to America as her manager and songwriter while he worked on his voice, and urged him to get a nose job — advice he resisted.