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Fans bid final farewell to Brazil music legend Joao Gilberto

Hundreds of mourners turned out on Monday to bid a final farewell to Brazilian music legend Joao Gilberto at a public vigil in Rio de Janeiro.

Wreathes placed around the semi-open coffin in the city’s majestic Municipal Theater paid tribute to the pioneer of bossa nova, who died on Saturday aged 88 following a long decline.

Ahead of a funeral ceremony in the afternoon, which has been reserved for Gilberto’s loved ones, fans arrived to pay their respects to a man described as Brazil’s “greatest artist”, some carrying their own musical instruments.

“Joao Gilberto represented a new era of music,” Paulo Afonso Sampaio, a 43-year-old businessman, told AFP.

“He was an inspiration for many people.”

For 81-year-old lawyer Mario Bastos, Gilberto was a “musical icon… who could hear sounds that others could not.”

“He was a great master,” said Adriana Calcagnotto, a singer and composer.

Gilberto, who is remembered for his haunting version of “The Girl from Ipanema,” spent the last decade of his life a recluse with mounting family, financial and health difficulties.

On Tuesday, he made a final public appearance at a restaurant near Copacabana beach with his partner Maria do Ceu Harris and his lawyer, Gustavo Carvalho Miranda, who posted photos of the event.

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