Belfast Telegraph

Big band leader James Last dies

Big band leader James Last has died aged 86 at his home in Florida, his manager said.

The German-born musician sold millions of records and was a regular fixture on UK TV for many years.

In a statement, his manager said: " Mr Last passed away yesterday in Florida, peacefully and in the presence of his family."

Last started his career in the ruins of post-war Germany and went on to sell more than 80 million records.

His manager said he had died after a "short, severe illness".

She said: " In him, the world loses a unique ambassador whose expressive and all-encompassing language was music.

"We bid farewell to the man, friend and visionary, who by his impressive strength and openness, his professionalism, modesty and love of life served as a role model and as an inspiration for many generations worldwide."

Last, who had his first musical training as a military cadet during the Second World War, was famous for his big band arrangements of popular chart hits and also wrote film and television theme tunes.

He played a string of gigs at the Royal Albert Hall earlier this year as part of what was billed as his farewell tour.

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