Portuguese Eurovision star Sara Tavares has died aged 45.
The singer, who represented the country in 1994, passed away on Sunday (November 19) after a lengthy battle with a brain tumour.
A translation of a social media statement on her account reads: “Our dear Sara passed away peacefully yesterday, surrounded by her family.”
“Funeral services will be reserved for family and friends only, so please respect privacy during this time of grief. We appreciate everyone showing love and affection. Sara leaves us a unique legacy as an artist and a human being and her songs will forever touch hearts.”
Tavares was born in Lisbon in 1978 to parents who emigrated to Portugal from Cape Verde. She rose to fame singing Whitney Houston’s ‘One Moment in Time’ on Chuva de Estrelas, a national singing competition, in 1994.
She also won the Festival da Canção that same year, the national selection contest for Eurovision. That earned her a slot at the 1994 Eurovision Song Contest. Tavares was just 16 when she nabbed Portugal one of its highest placements at the competition, achieving eighth place for her song ‘Chamar a Música’. The track was known for blending gospel, funk, and Portuguese influences.
After releasing her debut EP, ‘Sara Tavares & Shout’ (1996), the singer went on to release a number of albums throughout her career. Her record ‘Fitxadu’, which combined several Portuguese-African cultures and genres with electronic sounds, was nominated for ‘Best Portuguese Language Roots Album’ at the 2017 Latin Grammys.
Tavares took a break from the music industry after being diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2009. She returned in 2018 to release a string of singles including ‘Ter Peito e Espaço’ along with 2023’s ‘Mumentu’ and ‘KURTIDU’.
The Voice Portugal honoured the singer with a touching tribute, with its four current mentors António Zambujo, Fernando Daniel, Sara Correia and Sónia Tavares covering ‘Chamar a Música’.
Meanwhile, popular Angolan musician Yola Semedo commented: “Thank you for your talent QUEEN!”. She went on to share a verse from her song ‘Voá Borboleta’ on her personal Instagam.