What defined the late Luciano Pavarotti as a true superstar, I think, was this: he appeared in some ghastly piece of Hollywood tripe called Yes, Giorgio, playing exactly to type, and it didn’t affect his reputation in the slightest.
What hurt was the diagnosis: cancer of the pancreas, which has a survival rate of somewhere around zero. He knew he was doomed, and he canceled his last tour.
Joshua Kosman fills in the details in the San Francisco Chronicle. This quote seems to sum it up:
He had the most gorgeous, supple, musical, Italianate lyric tenor of a half-century maybe a whole century,” said San Francisco Opera General Director David Gockley, “as well as a delightful down-to-earth teddy-bear personality that reached out and brought millions of people closer to opera.”
And now he belongs to the ages, exactly as you knew he would some day, the very first time you heard him.