Lucio Dalla Prolific Singer Songwriter Dies

One of Italy's most prolific singer-songwriters Lucio Dalla, died Thursday in Switzerland during a European concert tour. According to his agency Ph.D srl Music Management, the singer had a heart attack in a Montreux hotel after he ate breakfast. It was three days before his 69th birthday.

The night before, Dalla had given a concert in Montreux Switzerland. Pascal Pellegrino, the director of Montreux's "culture season" said he even stayed around afterwards to chat with fans.

Italy's president Giorgio Napolitano was among the first people to pay tribute to the singer Thursday.

"(Dalla was) a strong and original voice who contributed to renew and promote Italian song in the world. He was an artist beloved by so many Italians," Napolitano said in a condolence message to Dalla's family.

Dalla's most famous composition was "Caruso" (1986), which has been covered by numerous world famous singers including Luciano Pavarotti, whose cover song sold over 9 million copies, and by Andrea Bocelli which appeared in his first international album which sold over 20 million copies.

Dalla who was born in Bologna, Italy, released his first album "How Deep Is the Sea" in 1977, and went on to produce a new album almost every year over the next few years, including the popular "Banana Republic." Dalla's "Beware of the Wolf" (1990) from the album "Cambio," sold almost 1.4 million copies.

Dalla also composed songs for Italy's most successful film directors, including Carlo Verdone, Mario Monicelli, Michelangelo Antonioni, and Michele Placido.

"We are never ready for news like this, we remain dumbstruck, shocked, frightened, angered and then sad, very sad, without words. 'C'est la vie', this is has precedence on everything except death, which comes when you least expect it." Italian singer Vasco Rossi wrote on his Facebook page after hearing about Dalla's death.

"(He) lived his whole life with the desire to amaze and the desire to be amazed," Italian singer Claudio Baglioni told the Italian news agency LaPresse.