Charles Aznavour

Legendary French singer Charles Aznavour has died aged 94, his spokeswoman has said on Monday.

The songwriter, who had just returned from a concert tour of Japan last month, died in his home in Alpilles in southeastern France.

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He had to cancel several concerts last year after breaking his arm in a fall.

Born in Paris, the singer and lyricist found global fame with a career that spanned more than seven decades – his most recent UK performance was at the Royal Albert Hall in June – and 1,200 songs, including a number of swooning romantic numbers that became popular in the UK.

Songs such as She, which topped the charts in record speed in 1974 and was famously covered by Elvis Costello for the opening titles of Love Actually, Dance the Old-Fashioned Way and La Bohéme have seen Aznavour dubbed the French Frank Sinatra. He has sold 180 million records.

Although he attempted to slow down in 2006, embarking upon a farewell tour that he intended to continue beyond 2010; Aznavour’s globe-trotting career continued well into his nineties. This year alone, he performed in Japan, Russia, Brazil and Australia.

His death swiftly prompted celebrity tributes. Piers Morgan called him “one of the greatest singers the world has seen and such an intelligent, eloquent, graceful and charming man,” while writer Harry Leslie Smith posted: “Just a phenomenally great artist and one of the few if not the last left from my generation.”

Aznavour is survived by his third wife, Ulla Thorsell, and his children