87-year-old bassist dies after collapse during orchestra performance
A bassist with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra has died aged 87 after collapsing on stage during a performance.
Jane Little collapsed on Sunday during a performance of There's No Business Like Show Business, the orchestra said. She was briefly revived but then passed away in hospital.
Little was recognised by Guinness World Records earlier this year for the longest professional tenure with a single orchestra. That performance on February 4 marked 71 years to the day since her first concert with the group's forerunner, the Atlanta Youth Symphony Orchestra.
The Atlanta native had joined the Atlanta Youth Symphony Orchestra aged 16, after two years of studying bass in high school. She attended the University of Georgia and studied for four years with the principal bass player of the Chicago Symphony.
Little played the double bass, the orchestra's largest instrument.
"Wrapping one's hands around a bass requires a great degree of physical strength - something that at 87 years old and 4ft 11in Little did with ease for more than seven decades," the orchestra said in a statement.
Her success in a role traditionally reserved for men served as an inspiration, said the orchestra's executive director Jennifer Barlament.
"We can say that Jane was fortunate to do what she loved until the very end of her storied life and career," the orchestra's statement added.
"The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra was truly blessed to have Jane as part of our family for the past 71 years and we all miss her passion, vitality, spirit and incredible talent."