Folk Legend Odetta, 1930-2008

Veteran passes away after a stay in a New York hospital

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Odetta, the legendary American folk singer, has died in New York aged 77.

Lauded as an influence by a generation of singers, including Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin and Joan Baez, she passed away on December 2 in New York City hospital Lenox Hill from heart disease after being admitted for kidney failure three weeks ago.

The singer released her first album, Odetta Sings Ballads And Blues, in 1956, going on to record countless others, up until 2001’s Looking For A Home.

In 1961, Martin Luther King named her the “queen of American folk music”, and she was noted for her involvement in human rights campaigns throughout her life.

Although confined to a wheelchair in recent years, Odetta still performed 60 90-minute concerts in the last two years, according to The Associated Press.

Her manager has claimed that the singer was hoping to perform at Barack Obama‘s inauguration in January 2009.

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