Ahmet Ertegun, the co-founder of Atlantic Records, has died at the age of 83.

Thanks to his vision, music legends including Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles and the Rolling Stones were launched into the world.

Remaining close to The Music scene until the end, Mr Ertegun was at a Rolling Stones concert in October when he slipped and hit his head. He later fell into a coma and spent weeks in hospital.

"He was in a coma and expired today with his family at his bedside," Dr Howard Riina, his neurosurgeon in New York, said.

Mr Ertegun will be buried in a private ceremony in his native Turkey and a memorial service will be conducted in New York after the New Year.

He set up the company 59 years ago after he moved from Turkey to the US and the label now has acts including James Blunt and Missy Elliott.

A statement from Atlantic Records chairman Craig Kallman said that the company is "profoundly saddened" at the news of his death.

"The music community has lost a pioneer and an icon, and we have lost our father," he said.

"The artists Ahmet discovered and the music he pioneered led a revolution in R&B, soul, and rock music that reshaped the modern cultural landscape. As a producer and as a label head, he was a mentor to artists, producers, songwriters, executives, and countless others - whose lives were forever changed by his rare creativity, intelligence, and wisdom.

"He will live on through the timeless body of music that was created under his direction and care."

Jann Wenner, editor and publisher of Rolling Stone magazine, said in a statement: "Ahmet was perhaps the most revered, respected figure in American popular music of the modern era.

"He had the regard of the musicians in a way no other executive has ever had, because of his own deep musicality and abilities and his legendary appetite for the music life."

15/12/2006 10:05:18