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- Posted on Jan 4th 2010 1:15AM by Joshua Ostroff
On Friday, Jan. 1, "just before midnight," Lhasa de Sela died at the age of 37 in her Montreal home following a 21-month struggle with breast cancer.
Her health issues became widely known last fall when Lhasa was forced to cancel a lengthy international tour on the heels of the US release of her self-titled third album, which was recorded during her struggle with cancer.
Lhasa's gypsy-like upbringing -- seven years spent roaming Mexico and the US with her parents and siblings on a converted school-bus -- influenced her later music, an intense, eloquent and international concoction.
She debuted with her award-winning, Spanish-language album 'La Llorona' in 1997 followed by 2003's multi-lingual and multi-genre 'The Living Road' and last spring's self-produced and Polaris Prize long-listed English album 'Lhasa,' which again melded gospel, blues, country, folk and other musical forms into a uniquely gorgeous whole. Combined, her albums have sold over a million copies and touched every last listener.
Lhasa leaves in mourning her partner Ryan, her sprawling family, friends, fans and "cat Isaan."
Perhaps the world is mourning, too, as the official release sadly notes, "It has snowed more than 40 hours in Montreal since Lhasa's departure."