Middle East

French singer Aznavour died of natural causes: autopsy

Passers-by take pictures on the Trocadero plaza past the Eiffel tower lit up with gold at sunset in Paris on October 1, 2018 as a tribute to French-Armenian singer-songwriter Charles Aznavour who has died aged 94.

Marseille: Singer Charles Aznavour died in his bathtub after suffering heart and breathing problems, an autopsy has found, as tributes continued to pour in on 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 oedema 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.

In memory of Charles Aznavour.
You carried the French language and culture around the world.
Thank you!#CharlesAznavour #Aznavour pic.twitter.com/8BLzhhTiDJ— France Diplomacy?? (@francediplo_EN) October 1, 2018

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 "honoured" at having sung with the man sometimes referred to as "France's Sinatra."

RIP Charles Aznavour. I had the honor of being introduced to Mr. Aznavour by Bob Dylan, after a show several years ago. He was a humble gentleman who did not display any ego. A grand artiste, actor, composer and vocalist of songs that will never die. Respect. ?: @candyTman pic.twitter.com/7c4h0mYazx— Lenny Kravitz (@LennyKravitz) October 1, 2018

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, well-wishers layed 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 honour, 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.

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