Rita Lee, Biggest Brazilian Rock Star, Dies at 75

An artist who flourished with tropicália, she became famous for her bold attitude, psychedelic music, and her relationship with drugs

São Paulo

Passed away this Monday (8), the singer Rita Lee, the biggest star of Brazilian rock'n'roll and a name that emerged during the tropicalismo movement with the band Os Mutantes, in the 1960s. She was at her home, in the capital of São Paulo, with her family.

Handout picture taken on July 18, 2012, released by Globo TV on May 9, 2023, showing Brazilian rock singer Rita Lee performing during the Serginho Groisman show in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Singer and songwriter Rita Lee, considered the "queen" of Brazilian rock, died in Sao Paulo at the age of 75, her family reported on May 9, 2023, on social media. (Photo by Marcos MAZINI / Globo TV (Brazilian TV channel) / AFP) - AFP

Out of the spotlight in recent years, the singer had been diagnosed with lung cancer in 2021. After treatments, in April 2022, the disease would have gone into remission.

Previously, Rita Lee wrote about her death, in her own style: "When I die, I can imagine the words of affection from those who hate me. Some radio stations will play my songs without charging any extra fees. Fans, those sincere ones, will wield my records and chant 'Ovelha Negra', the TV stations must already have a summary of my career trajectory up their sleeves. On virtual networks, someone will say: 'Wow, I thought the old lady had already died, lol'."

The excerpt is part of her autobiography, in which he recounts amusing passages in the same tone, such as the pranks in childhood and adolescence, as well as tragic ones, such as the abuse of alcohol and drugs and the rape she suffered at the age of six.

Without a drop of self-pity, she refers to herself with good humor and sarcasm, as well as to others —a strong trait of the construction of her image as the greatest rock'n'roll star in Brazil.

Translated by Cassy Dias

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