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Brazilian Rock Queen Rita Lee Dies at 75

By    |   Wednesday, 10 May 2023 12:35 PM EDT

Rita Lee, the iconic Brazilian musician, composer and founder of the trailblazing band Os Mutantes, died at age 75.

The pioneering artist was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2021 but went into remission last year, according to the Guardian. She died at her home in São Paulo on Monday night. Her cause of death was not immediately disclosed. 

"At this moment of profound sadness, the family thanks everyone for their affection and love," a message on Rita Lee's Instagram account read. Fans were invited to a public wake at the city's Parque Ibirapuera, regarded as one of Latin America's largest parks.

"The world has lost one of the most unique and incredible people who ever existed," one of her sons, João Lee, wrote on social media, according to the Guardian. "What an intense and spectacular life you had. Admired and loved by so many people. So ahead of your time."

Brazilian rock singer Pitty also posted a tribute on social media.

"I'm a wreck. The Greatest has left us … There will never be another Rita Lee," tweeted Pitty. 

Born in São Paulo to a father of American descent and a Brazilian mother, Rita Lee was a young girl when she took classical piano lessons. According to reports, she initially suffered from stage fright, but rather than let it define her, she threw herself into music. 

In 1966, Rita Lee founded the seminal psychedelic-rock group Os Mutantes with Arnaldo Batista and Sérgio Dias. In her first interview, she famously told the Folha de São Paulo newspaper that the band "has come from another planet to take over the world."

Years later her prophecy was fulfilled when the trio established themselves on a global platform, earning the support of international fans ranging from Nirvana singer Kurt Cobain to King Charles.

While with the band, Rita Lee helped produce a string of hits including "Balada do Louco," "Baby" and "Ando Meio Desligado." In 1972, she left Os Mutantes to pursue a solo career, which spanned decades and included an equally successful slew of hits such as "Amor e Sexo" and "Lança Perfume."

She is survived by her three children and her husband, with whom she shared a 44-year musical partnership. 

In 2016, Rita Lee imagined her future death in her memoir. 

"I will be in heaven," she wrote, "with my soul present playing my autoharp and singing to God, 'Thank you, Lord, finally sedated.' Epitaph: She was never a good example, but she was good people."


 

Zoe Papadakis

Zoe Papadakis is a Newsmax writer based in South Africa with two decades of experience specializing in media and entertainment. She has been in the news industry as a reporter, writer and editor for newspapers, magazine and websites.

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


TheWire
Rita Lee, the iconic Brazilian musician, composer and founder of the trailblazing band Os Mutantes, died at age 75.
rita lee, dies, os mutantes
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2023-35-10
Wednesday, 10 May 2023 12:35 PM
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