Veteran opera star JOAN SUTHERLAND, who gave Luciano Pavarotti his big break, has died at the age of 83 following a long illness.
The Australian-born soprano passed away on Sunday (10Oct10) at her home near Geneva, Switzerland.
Sutherland enjoyed a career spanning four decades and was widely touted as the successor to late opera legend Maria Callas.
She made her debut in 1947, taking the lead role of Dido in Dido and Aeneas, before her wide vocal range landed her the part of Mad Lucy in Lucia di Lammermoor in 1959 and shot her to stardom.
The singer is credited with giving Pavarotti a big career boost in the 1960s when she took him on tour with her, helping the late Italian to establish himself as a world class tenor.
Sutherland stepped out of the spotlight in 1990, having recorded an astounding 60 albums over the years, and she was the guest of honour at a farewell recital in London in December 1990, when Pavarotti hailed her as the "greatest coloratura soprano of all time".