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UN refugee agency mourns Luciano Pavarotti

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UN refugee agency mourns Luciano Pavarotti

6 September 2007

Thursday 6 September 2007

ROME - The U.N. refugee agency is deeply saddened by the death of Luciano Pavarotti, a staunch supporter of the refugee cause and of UNHCR's work around the world.

The celebrated Italian tenor, who was 71, died early Thursday. A United Nations Messenger of Peace, Mr. Pavarotti was deeply concerned about the plight of the world's uprooted people and generously used his talents to mobilise public opinion and support for UNHCR's global refugee work.

His annual 'Pavarotti and Friends' concerts, bringing together some of the world's greatest rock and pop stars, provided invaluable support to UNHCR's projects in Kosovo in 1999; for Afghan refugees in Pakistan in 2001; for Angolan refugees in Zambia in 2002; and for the agency's Iraq operation in 2003.

Individual donations during and after the concerts and the proceeds from ticket sales and CDs totalled more than US$7 million for refugee projects over the years.

In 2001 Mr. Pavarotti was presented the Nansen Refugee Award, granted annually by UNHCR in recognition of outstanding service to the cause of refugees, for his great generosity. At the time, he had raised more funds for the agency than any other individual.

"UNHCR extends its condolences to Luciano Pavarotti's wife, Nicoletta Mantovani, and to his family," Walter Irvine, UNHCR Regional Representative for Italy, said. "He will be fondly remembered by the many UNHCR staff around the world who had the pleasure of working with him."