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Italian singer-songwriter Toto Cutugno, author of anthem L'italiano, dies

Italian singer-songwriter Toto Cutugno, known for his popular song "L'italiano," has died at the age of 80. Cutugno achieved international success and won the Eurovision Song Contest in 1990. He was praised as a true Italian artist and his death has been mourned by colleagues in the industry.

Italian singer-songwriter Toto Cutugno, known for his iconic song "L'italiano," passed away at the age of eighty on Tuesday. Cutugno had been receiving cancer therapy at the San Raffaele hospital in Milan for several weeks before his death. "L'italiano" became a popular anthem in Italy and gained global recognition after winning the public vote at the legendary Sanremo Festival.

Interestingly, Cutugno initially wrote the song with the intention of having Adriano Celentano, a renowned Italian singer, perform it. Cutugno had previously written successful songs for Celentano, including "Soli" and "Il tempo se ne va." However, Celentano declined the offer, believing that he didn't need to proclaim his Italian identity. Undeterred, Cutugno decided to sing the song himself at the 1983 Sanremo Festival. He secured fourth place with the jury's vote but clinched first place in the popular vote. Domenico Modugno, another prominent Italian singer, praised the song and hailed Cutugno as his successor.

Following the success of "L'italiano," Cutugno went on to win the Eurovision Song Contest in 1990 with his song "Insieme 1992" in Zagreb. This victory marked Italy's first win since 1964 and became a symbol of European unity after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Cutugno's musical talent extended beyond his solo career, as he also composed songs for various artists, including Ray Charles and Johnny Hallyday. He even collaborated with Ray Charles on a performance at the Sanremo Festival in 1990. Cutugno's contributions to the music industry earned him international recognition, with over one hundred million records sold and success in countries like Spain, Germany, Russia, and Ukraine.

Born on July 7, 1943, in Fosdinovo, Tuscany, during World War II, Salvatore Cutugno displayed a passion for music from a young age. His father, a Navy officer who played the trumpet, influenced his musical journey. In the 1960s, Cutugno began his musical career as a drummer for the band Toto e i Tati. He later formed the group Albatros, where he showcased his vocal abilities. Overcoming his shyness, Cutugno embarked on a solo career in the late 1960s and emerged as one of Italy's most prominent musicians on the global stage. He achieved significant success in Spain, Germany, and Eastern European countries, selling millions of records.

Cutugno's impact extended beyond his musical endeavors. He ventured into television, hosting programs on Rai, Italy's public broadcasting company. His contributions to the arts earned him praise from various figures in the Italian government and entertainment industry. Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni described him as a true Italian, while Minister of Culture Gennaro Sangiuliano acknowledged his status as an artist proud of his Italian heritage, whose songs defined an era. Fellow singer Laura Pausini expressed her grief over Cutugno's passing, describing him as a talented and kind-hearted artist. The news of his death united Italy in mourning, with fans and colleagues paying tribute to his legacy.

Toto Cutugno's musical journey and his iconic songs have left an indelible mark on the Italian music scene and beyond. His passion for music, coupled with his talent and dedication, propelled him to international acclaim. As Italy bids farewell to this beloved artist, his songs will continue to resonate and evoke nostalgic memories for generations to come.

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