Italian singer Milva has died, her daughter told the Italian news agency Ansa on Saturday.
"La Rossa," as Maria Ilva Biolcati was also known in Italy because of her red hair, died on Friday (April 23) in Milan at the age of 81.
"Milva was one of the strongest interpreters of Italian chanson," Italy's Culture Minister Dario Franceschini said on Saturday.
She was born in 1939 as the daughter of a dressmaker and a fisherman in the small Italian town of Goro on the Adriatic coast.
But she had to pitch in early and earn money for the family when her father got into financial difficulty.
She moved to Bologna, entered a singing competition and received training in singing and acting.
She recorded dozens of albums and also sang on the stage, seamlessly making the move from pop to classical singing.
In 2010 she announced the end of her career. In a television interview the same year, she had spoken of health problems that prevented her from performing. – dpa