Popular Italian singer-songwriter Pino Daniele died at the age of 59 after suffering from a heart attack, his agent said Monday, according to reports. Daniele’s daughter, Sara, and long-time friend Eros Ramazzotti, also confirmed his death.
Daniele was born in the Sanita neighborhood of Naples and used his working-class family background in his music. Daniele, who played with famous musicians such as Eric Clapton, Richie Havens, Pat Metheny and Chick Corea, often included themes of poverty and protests against social injustice in his songs. Naples Mayor Luigi de Magistris reportedly declared the day of Daniele’s funeral as a day of mourning in the city.
"I still have his music in my ears," Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said, according to Reuters. "He had an incredible voice ... his guitar playing was precious and he had a rare sensitivity that was tinged with passion and melancholy that will continue to tell the story of our country to the whole world."
Daniele, who often blended Italian, English and the Neapolitan dialect in his songs, attracted nearly 200,000 fans to an outdoor concert in Naples, just four years after he debuted his album "Terra Mia" (My Land) in 1977. Daniele's band was once the opening act for a Bob Marley concert in Milan. He was greatly influenced by American jazz musicians such as Louis Armstrong and 10-time Grammy Award-winner George Benson.
Daniele, who is survived by his wife and five children, released nearly 25 studio albums and also produced songs for other Italian singers.