"Today, the composers' paradise woke up happier: Joao Donato went there to play his beautiful melodies," reads a statement published on the musician's official Instagram account.

The cause of death was not specified in the statement, but he had been hospitalized recently for pneumonia and had been intubated since last week, according to local media.

Singer, composer, pianist, accordionist and musical arranger, Joao Donato was less in the light than other icons like Joao Gilberto or Tom Jobim, but he was a reference for a large number of Brazilian artists.

The wake will take place at the Municipal Theater in Rio de Janeiro, the city where he grew up, after moving as a child with his family from his hometown of Rio Branco, in the northern Amazonian state of Acre.

It was in Rio that he began his musical career, becoming a figure of bossa nova, a musical genre that revolutionized Brazilian music in the late 50s, giving it a worldwide audience.

He is the author of legendary compositions, such as "Minha saudade" (1962) with Joao Gilberto, the iconic bossa nova singer and guitarist, who died in 2019.

His first album, "Cha Dançante" (1956), with his band Joao Donato e seu Conjunto, was produced by Tom Jobim.

A versatile artist, Joao Donato never wanted to lock himself into a single musical genre.

"I'm not bossa nova, samba, jazz, rumba or forró. In fact, I am all that at once," he said in a 2014 interview with the daily O Globo.

His talent has been recognized worldwide, with numerous international tours, and he has lived for ten years in the United States.

"He was one of the geniuses of Brazilian music. Today we have lost one of our best composers, one of the most creative (...), who marked the history of the music of our country with his compositions that have traveled the world, "responded on Twitter the Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

In June, Brazil had already lost another bossa nova icon, Astrud Gilberto, the interpreter of "Girl from Ipanema".

© 2023 AFP