Acclaimed American tenor James King has died after suffering a heart attack. He was 80.

King, who was a favourite on opera stages around the world during the 1960s and 1970s before becoming a music professor at Indiana University, passed away on Sunday (20NOV05) in Naples, Florida.

King, born in Dodge City, Kansas, made his professional debut with the San Francisco Opera and rose to international prominence in 1961 singing the role of CAVARADOSSI in PUCCINI's TOSCA at Florence, Italy's Teatro della Pergola.

But he won his greatest renown in the German repertory, specialising in the operas of RICHARD WAGNER and RICHARD STRAUSS.

At the Metropolitan Opera, he sang 113 performance over 30 years, beginning with his debut in 1966 as FLORESTAN and ending with the character role of AEGISTH in Strauss's ELEKTRA.

King, who taught music and voice at Indiana University from 1984 until 2002, put on his final public performance in 2000 at the university, where he sang the role of SIEGMUND from Wagner's DIE WALKUERE.