Gal Costa, legendary Brazilian singer, has died at age 77.
The musician known for hits like “Samba de Ordem Pública” and “Tanto Olhar” and others was also well known for his commitment to environmental causes, donating to the victims of the infamous 1985 Caratinguva forest fire in Belo Horizonte, where he grew up, and to the rainforest.
“We’re very sad, we’re going to keep a family prayer going” for the singer, his manager, Antonio Caranci, said in a statement to AFP.
“We had a very good fight. He always fought for others.”
He was also known for his social activism, with an emphasis on reducing poverty and helping the less fortunate.
He was born in a slum in the city of São Paulo on December 26, 1941, and raised by his adoptive parents.
Born with the surname Costa, he adopted the stage name “Gal Costa” during his first solo album release, in 1972.
His stage name was chosen as “he was a man who was always in the streets, always looking for new paths.”
His music career took off during the mid-60s, when he was working in local clubs in São Paulo.
“He was one of the first musicians to break into Brazil’s urban elite,” said a statement from the artist’s family.
“After his first album, he was an international star.”
Costa released his first records in English, and then switched to Spanish, working with several record labels, including CBS Records, until the late 70s.
The singer was best known as a singer, but he also performed in film, most notably in the cult classic “Samba de Ordem Pública”.
He has had a long career, and performed in more than 250 concerts in more than 20 countries, as well as the “Gal Costa & Friends” shows, and has also performed with the group Caetano Veloso.
His career as an actor began in the 1970s.