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Grammy-winning singer Cesaria Evora dies at age 70

December 17, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
Grammy-winning singer Cesaria Evora died on Saturday on her native island off the West Africa coast. She was 70 years old.

Evora died in a Sao Vicente hospital in the Cape Verde Islands, according to her music label's website. They offered no other details.

Known for her African islands music, Evora was called the "Barefoot Diva" because she always performed without shoes.

She started singing as a teenager in the 1950's. Known for her traditional music of the Cape Verde Islands, Evora mostly sang in the Creole dialect spoken there. Her music eventually reached stages across the world, earning her a Grammy in 2003 for her album "Voz D'Amor".

Her singing style brought comparisons to American jazz singer Billie Holiday.

Evora retired in September because of health problems. In recent years she had several operations, including open-heart surgery last year.

She had a son and a daughter by different men but never married. Family details were not immediately available.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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