Inaugural Eurovision winner Lys Assia dies



BERLIN (dpa)- The winner of the first Eurovision Song Contest has died in her native Switzerland, it was announced late Saturday.
Lys Assia, 94, died Saturday at Zurich's Zollikerberg Hospital, Eurovision said on its website and Twitter.



"We’re very sad to hear that Lys Assia - the Grande Dame of #Eurovision - has passed away," the contest tweeted.
"Our very first winner in 1956 and a huge supporter of the Contest ever since. The whole Eurovision family sends our condolences to Lys’ loved ones."
Assia rose to fame after winning the inaugural competition in 1956 in Lugano in her native Switzerland, going on to perform for Queen Elizabeth II, the Egyptian King Faruk and Eva Peron. She was also heavily involved in supporting charitable causes.
She remained a loyal supporter of the Eurovision Song Contest, being a guest of honour at the 30th anniversary in Gothenburg in 1985. She also performed her winning song "Refrain" at the 2009 contest in Moscow.
Born Rosa Mina Schaerer in 1924 in northern Switzerland's Rupperswil, she began her career as a dancer, but then turned to singing and scored her biggest hit in 1950 with "O Mein Papa."
"In Stockholm, just days before the city hosted the 2016 contest, she took part in a special meet-and-greet event for fans and press, where she shared her memories in a variety of languages - she was fluent in at least six - and took pictures with every single person who asked," Eurovision said online.
Assia had battled health problems in recent years, Eurovision added.
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Monday, March 26th 2018
dpa
           


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