French-Armenian singer and songwriter Charles Aznavour died on Sunday night at 94 at his home in Alpilles in southeastern France, triggering a deluge of tribute to the legendary French crooner who had dreamt to die on the stage.
In a tweet, French President Emmanuel Macron, mourned a “proudly French, viscerally attached to his Armenian roots, known all over the world” who had “unique brilliance”.
“Charles Aznavour accompanied three generations through their joys and pains. His masterpieces, his tone, his unique brilliance will live far beyond him,” he wrote.
At the National Assembly, lawmakers honored Aznavour with a standing ovation.
“I would like to pay tribute to the memory of Charles Aznavour, who has just left us and who so skillfully embodied belonging to many cultures for the benefit of all humanity,” said Assembly President Richard Ferrand.
Dubbed France’s Frank Sinatra, Aznavour was born in 1924 in Paris to Armenian immigrants. He started performing at the age of nine with a role in a play called Un Petit Diable in Paris and La Guerre des Gosses movie.
During the early stages of his career, Aznavour opened for then rising French star Edith Piaf and became her manage rand songwriter.
In a long tribute, former French President Nicolas Sarkozy wrote on his facebook account, “Le Grand Charles is gone.”
“He leaves us his words, his melodies, his voice: those of an absolute genius, a poet of French chanson. With his flamboyant career, Charles Aznavour accompanied the life of every French person,” he said.
Former Prime Minister Manuel Valls paid tribute to “this son of Armenian immigrants who became one of the greatest and most beautiful symbols of French brilliance”.
Over seven decades, Aznavour recorded more than 1,400 songs interpreted in eight languages with the best-selling ones included the English-language “She”, “For me, formidable” and “La Mamma”.
For himself and others, he wrote or co-wrote more than 1,000 songs and sold more than 180 million records.
Last month, the veteran singer returned from a concert tour of Japan. He had planned to go back on tour starting with a concert in Brussels on Oct. 26.
“I always go forwards. There is no backwards step with me. All I can do is live, and I live on stage. I am happy up there, and you can see that,” Aznavour said during a television interview last Friday.