Her passing on Sunday evening sent shockwaves through the Eurovision fandom, with countless social media users remembering her poise and her power.
Sara Tavares, who commentators described as a Portuguese Whitney Houston, passed away on 19 November from a brain tumour. She’d been battling it for more than a decade.
Tavares was born in Lisbon in 1978. She rose to national prominence when she won the inaugural edition of Chuva de Estrelas in 1994. Among other things, she covered Whitney Houston’s “One Moment in Time,” wowing judges and viewers with her ability to make a big song her own.
Those skills were on fine show at Eurovision in Dublin later that year when she sang the beautiful number “Chamar a música”. She was just 16 years old at the time.
Spain’s jury gave her 12 points and she also received points from 13 of the 25 participating nations. She ultimately finished in eighth place. Only four Portuguese acts have ever placed higher.
A generation of children will also remember her for singing “God Help the Outcasts” in the Portuguese version of Disney’s “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.”
Our social media followers have been full of praise.
“Incredibly sad,” says user @jaccobabe. “Way too young to go. Amazing singer, and a fantastic song.”
@btsfairy_D said: “Spent my childhood singing along to this song with my cousin. I hope she’s resting peacefully knowing she’ll always be remembered.”
@CrazyJaerson remembered her historic role in the Portuguese music scene: “RIP to the youngest Festival da Cançao winner and Portuguese Eurovision entrant.”
@n0t_daisy said: “Sara Tavares, the one who gave me the music bug and whose song gave me my first victory in a music competition at age 11. Portugal lost so much today.”
Like so many, she punctuated her statement with an emoji of a broken heart.