Salvatore “Toto” Cutugno has died at the age of 80.
Cutugno’s manager, Danilo Mancuso, revealed the news. The Eurovision 1990 champion passed away in hospital on Tuesday after battling a long illness that had recently worsened.
Born on 7 July 1943 in Tendola, Toto Cutugno grew to become one of Italy’s most successful singers and songwriters, selling over 100 million records worldwide.
His biggest hit was “L’Italiano” (“The Italian”), released in 1983. The song achieved international success and charted in multiple countries, including Portugal, Switzerland, Belgium and West Germany. A number of other singers have also recorded covers of the song in their own languages.
Cutugno gained international fame once again in 1990. The Italian star represented his country at Eurovision in Zagreb, Yugoslavia, with the song “Insieme: 1992” (“Together: 1992”). The lyrics called for the fractured nations of Europe to cooperate and come together: “Europe is not far away / This is an Italian song for you / Together, unite, unite, Europe”.
The ‘1992’ mentioned in the title refers to the year in which the European Union was originally scheduled to begin operating (though this was delayed until the end of 1993).
The song cut through to the hearts of the national juries. Toto earned 149 points and emerged as the winner of the contest, earning Italy its second Eurovision victory. Cutugno went on to host the 1991 contest alongside Italy’s first Eurovision winner, Gigliola Cinquetti.
Toto became accustom to singing competitions during his career, particularly the prestigious Festival di Sanremo. The star participated 15 times in the festival, though he only managed to win once — in 1980 with “Solo noi” (“Only us”). He finished fifth in 1983 with “L’Italiano”.
A star has been lost, but Toto Cutugno’s music and passion for a united Europe will always live on.
The team at wiwibloggs sends our thoughts and condolences to Toto’s family and friends.
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