Eminent conductor and one of the leading lights of his generation passes at 80.

AFP has reported that the Italian conductor Claudio Abbado has died at the age of 80. Attilia Giuliani, head of the Abbadiani Association, confirmed the death earlier today. “I found out half an hour ago from his personal doctor. This is such a painful moment,” Giuliani said. Italian President Giorgio Napolitano said that the death of Abbado “is a source of strong emotion and pain for me personally, and a profound loss for Italy and for (our) culture”.

Abbado, who was diagnosed with stomach cancer in 2000 successfully survived the invasive surgery which necessitated the removal of a portion of his digestive system. He remained in fragile health for the last decade.

Tributes have flooded in with Sir Antonio Pappano tweeting, “Claudio Abbado was a unique spirit and a visionary. He is by any standard a giant”. Riccardo Muti said: “I am deeply saddened by the loss of a great musician who, for many decades, has marked the history of conducting and musical interpretation in international institutions. His disappearance will strongly impoverish the world of music and art”, while incoming La Scala chief Riccardo Chailly said: “From...