Jessye Norman, opera legend, dead at 74

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Jessye Norman, a renowned international soprano and Grammy winner, has died, according to a family spokesperson. She was 74.

Per a statement obtained by The Associated Press, the four-time Grammy award winner and the National Medal of Arts recipient died Monday morning from septic shock and multiorgan failure secondary to complications of a spinal cord injury she sustained in 2015.

Norman died at Mount Sinai St. Luke's hospital in New York, surrounded by loved ones.

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"We are so proud of Jessye's musical achievements and the inspiration that she provided to audiences around the world that will continue to be a source of joy," a family statement read. "We are equally proud of her humanitarian endeavors addressing matters such as hunger, homelessness, youth development and arts and culture education."

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Norman -- she gained acclaim for her passionate soprano voice -- was a trailblazing performer who earned 15 Grammy nominations throughout her career, picking up her first at the 1985 show for best classical vocal soloist performance ("Ravel: Songs Of Maurice Ravel").

Born on Sept. 15, 1945, in Augusta, Ga., Norman grew up around a musical family: her mother and grandmother were pianists and her father was a singer, according to Variety. She also sang in church.

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Norman earned a scholarship to attend Howard University in Washington, D.C., where she studied music. After graduating in 1967, she went on to study at the Peabody Conservatory and the University of Michigan.

Norman made her operatic debut in 1969 as Elisabeth in Richard Wagner’s Tannhäuser. She would go on to sing title roles in works like "Carmen" and "Aida" among many others. She also performed works by the likes of Wagner, Schubert, Mahler, Brahms and Satie.

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In 1997, at age 52, Norman became the youngest person to earn the Kennedy Center Honor. And she notched a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006.