Rita Lee dead: Os Mutantes singer dies at 75 - tributes for Brazil’s 'Queen of Rock'

Tributes have been pouring in for the feminist icon who sold more than 55 million records over six decades

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Rita Lee, renowned for being an original member of rock band Os Mutantes and Brazil's undisputed Queen of Rock, has died at the age of 75. The pioneering feminist icon passed away on Tuesday (10 May), her family confirmed in a post on the musician's official Instagram page.

The statement, originally posted in Portuguese, reads: "We communicate the passing of Rita Lee, at her residence in the capital of São Paulo, at the end of the night, surrounded by all the love of her family, as she always wanted."

Lee was diagnosed with lung cancer back in 2021. The Queen of Rock had a groundbreaking and highly successful career, amassing 55 million record sales over six decades, seven Latin Grammy Awards and received the Latin Grammy's Lifetime Achievement Award in November.

Many renown Lee for being one of Brazil's most successful singers and songwriters, with her album Fruto Proibido (Forbidden Fruit) largely considered a Brazillian classic. She got her start forming the group Os Mutantes with Arnaldo Baptista and Sérgio Dias in 1966 until 1972 before going solo.

Lee is survived by her husband and collaborator Roberto do Carvalho and their three children.

Tributes to Rita Lee

Rita Lee died at the age of 75 - Credit: GettyRita Lee died at the age of 75 - Credit: Getty
Rita Lee died at the age of 75 - Credit: Getty

The musician had a number of big name fans ranging from Kurt Cobain to the recently crowned King Charles III. Lee's popularity and importance to the global music industry meant that tributes came pouring in.

Manuel Abud, the CEO of the Latin Recording Academy, expressed his "most sincere condolences to her family, friends and all lovers of her music. Rita Lee was a visionary artist and one of the best-selling singer and songwriters in the history of Brazil."

Close friend, fellow musician and former culture minister of Brazil Gilberto Gil took to Instagram to pay tribute to Lee, sharing a few pictures of them together captioned: "Rest in peace, my sister."

Luiz Inacio da Silva, Brazil's president, also celebrated the musician in a statement on his official Twitter, which reads: "Rita helped transform Brazilian music with her creativity. She confronted machismo both in life and in music and inspired generations of women in the world of rock and the arts."