João Gilberto, the bossa nova icon who brought the genre to a worldwide audience, has died at age 88. The BBC reports Gilberto died at his home in Rio De Janeiro after a period of illness. His son, Marcello, confirmed the illness, saying "His fight was noble, he tried to maintain dignity."

With his nylon-string guitar style, Gilberto pioneered the bossa nova sound and his 1958 song "Bim Bom" is generally regarded as the first bossa nova record. His landmark 1964 collaboration with Stan Getz (as well as featuring another icon of the genre, Antônio Carlos Jobim) featured their cover of "The Girl From Ipanema" which helped make bossa nova a worldwide sensation.

Rest in peace, João. Your music lives on.

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