MILAN – Italian recording artist and songwriter Toto Cutugno died on Aug. 22 at the age of 80 at the San Raffaele Hospital, where he had been hospitalized after a long illness
Cutugno was one of the most beloved singers in Italy and a symbol of Italian music abroad thanks especially to the song “l’Italiano,” which has become an unofﬁ cial national anthem in Italy.
Over the years Cutugno performed 15 times in the Sanremo Music Festival, including a historic performance in 1990 when he sang with Ray Charles. Other popular hits in Italy and abroad include “Il Tempo Se Ne Va,” “La Mia Musica,” and Solo Noi.”
However, it was his 1983 symbolic song, “L’Italiano” which sold millions of records despite the fact that it came in at ﬁ fth place at Sanremo. It became famous around the world, including in Israel, Iran, and Korea. In 2012, he performed “L’Italiano” with the choir of the Red Army.
His bond with the annual Sanremo event was so strong that in 2005 he gave up performing at the Olympia in Paris to participate again at the famous Italian music festival. Between performances at Sanremo over the years, he traveled the world with his message: “Lascaitemi cantare con la chitarra a mano, sono un italiano.” (Let me sing with guitar in hand, let me sing, I’m an Italian.)