Three Music World Legends Pass Away
Country guitarist CHET ATKINS, 77, the architect of the "Nashville Sound" that so popularized strings-laden music starting in the 1950s, died on Saturday at his home in the country. He had been battling cancer for several years. Called "the Country Gentleman," Atkins, who grew up dirt-poor in Tennessee, was known for his easy-going style and total lack of arrogance, despite his towering stature and influence (on everyone from the Everly Brothers to Elvis). He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Leona, and a daughter, Merle Atkins . . . Triple Grammy-winning tenor saxophonist JOE HENDERSON, 64, a member of the jazz world's elite, died on Saturday of heart failure in San Francisco following a long bout with emphysema. Though sometimes compared to the legendary Stan Getz, Henderson was nicknamed "the Phantom" for his ability to drop out of public view . . . French soprano GINA CIGNA, 101, considered one of the greatest singers in the world, died in Milan last Tuesday. She had made her stage debut at La Scala in 1927, and became famous for singing Puccini's "Turandot."
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