James Last dead: The big band leader dies

The German-born musician was known for "happy music"

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The Independent Online

James Last has died at the age of 86.

His manager confirmed the news, saying that he died on Tuesday in his Florida home "peacefully and in the presence of his family".

Born Hans Last in 1929, his love of music began at the age of six.

Last formed a dance band with his brothers in 1946 with Radio Bremen public broadcasting, but later moved to Hamburg to do orchestral arrangements.

He announced a "serious illness" in September 2014, and performed a farewell tour. He did not disclose what his illness was.

Last was praised for bringing classical music to the masses, and it is thought that he sold over 100 million albums during his lifetime and had 52 LPs.

Known as the "Emperor of Elevator Music", Last attributed his career to "luck".

He is survived by his wife, Christine, and his sons Ronald and Daughter Caterina from his first marriage.