RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil -- Guitarist and composer Roberto Baden Powell de Aquino, a bossa nova pioneer who was a contemporary of and collaborator with Antonio Carlos Jobim, died Tuesday at age 63 in his native Rio de Janeiro.
Baden Powell toured the United States with tenor saxophonist Stan Getz during the 1960s after Getz's bossa nova albums with a blend of jazz and samba swept the continent -- and the world -- like a sweet breeze and created an instrumental pop phenomenon. It paved the way for the second Brazilian and Latin jazz wave that struck the U.S. in the 1990s.
Throughout a career which took him all over the world, he went by the professional name of "Baden Powell," a name given to him by his father, the Brazilian violinist Lino de Aquino, in admiration of the British founder of the Boy Scout movement, Robert Baden Powell.
Doctors said Baden Powell died of multiple organ failure at the Sorocaba Clinic, where he had been hospitalized in intensive care with pneumonia and diabetes-related health problems for the past month.
Born August 6, 1937 in Varre-e-Sai, a small rural town in the state of Rio de Janeiro, Baden Powell took up classical guitar at age 8 after his family moved to the city of Rio. He turned professional at 15, launching a career that brought him into the heart of thick of Brazil's Afro-samba and bossa nova movements. He wrote "Samba Triste" with Billy Blanco in 1959 and was a key figure on many bossa nova albums.
Baden Powell composed more than 50 bossa nova and Afro-samba tunes with his mentor, Vinicius de Moraes. They wrote "Berimbau," "Samba da Benao," "Samba en Preludio", "Deixa," "Formosa," "Tristeza e Solidao," "Bocoxe," "Canto de Xango," "Canto de Lamanja" and "Canto de Ossanha," which became on of Brazilian singer Elis Regina's biggest hits.ao" on original soundtrack of Claude Lelouch's 1966 film "A Man and a Woman."
Baden Powell worked closely with Jobim, who died in New York in 1994. His songs were turned into hits by Elis Regina and Milton Nascimento.
Baden Powell was laid to rest on Wednesday at Rio's St. John the Baptist Cemetery, where many of the country's many famous musicians and public figures are buried.
He is survived by his wife, Elizabeth, and two sons.