Brazilian singer and composer João Gilberto died on Saturday at his house in Rio de Janeiro. He was 88.

Gilberto’s son João Marcelo Gilberto shared the news of the singer’s death on Facebook, according to BBC. “His fight was noble, he tried to maintain dignity,” Marcelo Gilberto said. The cause of the death was not revealed.

Gilberto was known as a pioneer of the Brazilian musical style “bossa nova” or the new wave, which found international popularity in the 1960s. The style melded Brazilian samba with jazz and other influences.

Gilberto is often credited with helping develop the sound of the genre that brought Brazilian music to the world, CNN reported.

In 1964, Gilberto collaborated with American saxophone player Stan Getz. Their album sold millions of copies and won international praise, including a Grammy Award for Album of the Year. The most famous tune that resulted from this collaboration was The Girl from Ipanema.


“It was João Gilberto, the greatest genius of Brazilian music, who was the definitive influence on my music,” Brazilian singer Gal Costa wrote on social media, according to The Guardian. “He will be missed but his legacy is very important to Brazil and to the world.”

Singer Daniela Mercury called Gilberto a “genius who revolutionised popular Brazilian music”. She said: “He taught us how to sing in the most beautify way in the world. Go in peace, maestro.”