Photo: Nelson Ned
Brazilian religious and ballad singer Nelson Ned died Sunday in a hospital in Cotia, a city in the Sao Paulo metropolitan area, from a serious bout of pneumonia, health officials said. He was 66.
He died of “clinical complications” of the pneumonia and bladder problems, the Sao Paulo state Health Secretariat’s press office said.
The artist, who had been living in a nursing home in Cotia since Dec. 24, had been admitted on Saturday night to the city’s regional hospital.
“The Little Giant of Song” - so called because he was just 1.12 meters (3 feet 8 inches) tall - emerged in the 1960s as one of Brazil’s most famous romantic performers and his international success came with the recording of several albums in Spanish.
A musical idol in Argentina, Mexico and Colombia, among other nations, Ned had experienced health problems in recent years, but his situation worsened in 2003 when he suffered a stroke.
As a consequence of the stroke, the singer of “Todo pasara” became blind in his right eye and had to move around by wheelchair. He also suffered from diabetes, high blood pressure and early phase Alzheimer’s.
After a life of excess, in the 1990s Ned converted to evangelical Protestantism and thereafter made a career performing religious music in Portuguese and Spanish.
Ned, who sold 45 million albums worldwide, was the first Latin American artist to sell more than 1 million albums in the U.S. market, where he took the stage along with Julio Iglesias and Tony Bennett, and where he sang on three occasions to a sold-out Carnegie Hall in New York.