Society 17:22 31/05/2019 World

Leon Redbone, acclaimed singer and guitarist of Armenian origin, dies in Toronto

Acclaimed singer and guitarist Dickran Gobalian known as  Leon Redbone has died. Redbone's family confirmed the musician's death on Thursday in a statement shared on his official website, The Associated Press reported.

"It is with heavy hearts we announce that early this morning, May 30th 2019, Leon Redbone crossed the delta for that beautiful shore at the age of 127. He departed our world with his guitar, his trusty companion Rover, and a simple tip of his hat,” the statement read, according to the Associated Press release.

To note, his career got a boost in the early 1970s when Bob Dylan met him at the Mariposa Folk Festival in Ontario, Canada, and praised his performance. Dylan said that if he ever started a label, he would have signed Redbone.

Throughout his career, Redbone made appearances on "Saturday Night Live" and "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson." He also sang theme songs for such works as "Mr. Belvedere" and "Harry & The Hendersons."

In addition, he also voiced Leon the Snowman character in Will Ferrell’s beloved 2003 movie "Elf," and did a duet with the movie's female lead, Zooey Deschanel, for “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.”

To note, according to a Toronto Star report in the 1980s, Leon was once known as Dickran Gobalian, and he came to Canada from Cyprus in the mid-1960s. Biographical research published in 2019 corroborated his birth name, and stated that his family was of Armenian origin. His parents lived in Jerusalem, but moved in 1948 to Nicosia, Cyprus, where Redbone was born. By 1961, the family had moved to London, England, and by 1965 to Toronto.

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