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Music Producer Phil Ramone Dies At 79

March 31st, 2013 10:07am EDT
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Phil Ramone

Famed music producer Phil Ramone has died at the age of 79. The producer and sound engineer, who worked with stars including Ray Charles, Billy Joel and Barbra Streisand, passed away on Saturday in New York City. 

His death comes just weeks after he was hospitalized to treat an aortic aneurysm. 

Ramone, who was born in South Africa, but grew up in the Big Apple, won 14 Grammy Awards throughout his illustrious career, including album of the year prizes for Paul Simon's Still Crazy After All These Years, Billy Joel's 52nd Street and Ray Charles' Genius Loves Company.  He won his last Grammy in 2012 for producing the Tony Bennett album Duets II. 

He also worked with Bob Dylan, Elton John, Paul McCartney and Frank Sinatra

Ramone, who opened his own recording studio in 1958, worked on music for Broadway productions and television shows and added an Emmy Award to his collection for his work on 1973 small screen special Duke Ellington... We Love You Madly. 

Ramone also took charge of the sound production when Marilyn Monroe famously sang to U.S. President John F. Kennedy at a birthday celebration in New York in 1962. 

Joel was among the first to pay tribute to his longtime collaborator, remembering him in a statement: "I always thought of Phil Ramone as the most talented guy in my band. He was the guy that no one ever, ever saw onstage. He was with me as long as any of the musicians I ever played with - longer than most. So much of my music was shaped by him and brought to fruition by him."

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