Naharnet

Aznavour Died in His Bath of Natural Causes

Singer Charles Aznavour died in his bathtub after suffering heart and breathing problems, an autopsy has found, as tributes continued to pour in Tuesday from around the world for one of France's most famous performers.

Aznavour, 94, was found dead on Monday at his home in the southeast, sparking nationwide mourning for an entertainer who sold 180 million records during his eight-decade-long career.

Franco-Armenian Aznavour was discovered Monday lunchtime "lying in his bathroom bathtub, next to his bedroom," prosecutor Patrick Desjardins told reporters near his home in the town of Mouries.

An autopsy found the death "occurred in the morning of October 1, in the wake of an acute edema caused by cardiorespiratory failure," Desjardins said.

"Foul play can be ruled out, but the circumstances surrounding the death are not precisely known."

Aznavour had said last week that he wanted to breathe his last on stage and was scheduled to appear live in Belgium and France in the next few weeks.

His legions of fans have been left heartbroken by his death, while fellow entertainers lined up to pay tribute to his influence as a taboo-breaking singer and original songwriter.

Sting and Lenny Kravitz lauded the "eternal" legacy of the "gentleman" of traditional French singing, while Elton John wrote on Twitter that he was "honored" at having sung with the man sometimes referred to as "France's Sinatra." 

Aznavour's fanbase spanned the world thanks to his role in Francois Truffaut's film "Shoot the Piano Player" in 1960 that catapulted him to fame outside France, as well as his commercial success in America and loyal following among the Armenian diaspora. 

On Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles, wellwishers laid flowers on the pavement star bearing his name, while Armenia commemorated him in parliament and on the underground train stations in the capital Yerevan which played his songs.

The Armenian government also decreed a day of mourning to coincide with the day on which he will be buried in France, with details of his funeral still unknown.

Aznavour was born in Paris on May 22, 1924, to Armenian parents who had fled the massacres in their homeland and the singer would say that Armenians were "in my heart and in my blood."

He had been due to accompany French President Emmanuel Macron as a guest of honour at a summit of francophone countries in Armenia on October 10 and 11

In Lebanon, which has a large Armenian population, his death was also front-page news and radio stations played his songs.

- Eiffel Tower tribute -

In France, the Eiffel tower was lit up in gold Monday night in his honor, while Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo called for the capital to rename a street after him.

French newspapers Tuesday splashed the singer on their front pages, with several praising him as the "last of the giants".

French politicians, including former president Francois Hollande, Tuesday called for a national ceremony of remembrance, but officials were expected to check on his family's wishes.

Aznavour, who was three-times married, leaves a wife, Ulla, and five surviving children.

Hundreds of thousands of people lined the streets of Paris in December for the funeral and national homage to another post-war French singer, Johnny Hallyday.

Source: Agence France Presse


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