Spanish opera singer Montserrat Caballe dead at 85

Madrid's Teatro Real said it would dedicate Saturday's performance of "Faust" to the memory of Caballe, lauding the "singular beauty of her voice" and her prodigious technique.

She crossed over into the wider public consciousness after a duet with close friend and fan, Queen singer Freddie Mercury, for the 1987 hit Barcelona, which became the official anthem of the 1992 Olympics.

She also performed alongside the likes of Luciano Pavarotti and Placido Domingo.

The Royal Opera House in London, where Caballe sang on a number of occasions between 1972 and 1992, also expressed its condolences, saying she had "inspired millions".

Among other reactions, Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez tweeted: "Sad news. Her voice and her kindness will always remain with us".

A service for the singer, who has long suffered from health problems, will be held tomorrow with a funeral on Monday, according to Barcelona authorities.

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She went on to tour the world in a career spanning 50 years, garnering worldwide acclaim for her creamy voice and dramatic power.

Spain opera star Montserrat Caballe died overnight at the Sant Pau hospital.

She rose to global fame after a stunning performance as a last-minute replacement for another legend, Marylin Horne, at New York's Carnegie Hall in 1965, and sang in over 80 roles on leading stages around the world.

She produced a highly-acclaimed performance as Elisabetta of Valois in an all-star cast of Verdi's "Don Carlo" at the Arena di Verona in 1969.

However, despite a glittering and successful career, it was not without controversy.

In 2015, Caballe was given a six-month suspended prison sentence for tax fraud.

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