Stephen Sondheim, the legendary songwriter who reshaped the American musical theater in the 20th century with his lyrics, has died. He was 91. His death was announced by his Texas-based attorney, Rick Pappas, who told The New York Times the composer died on Friday at his home in Roxbury, Connecticut. Sondheim was born March 22, 1930, into a wealthy family, the only son of dress manufacturer Herbert Sondheim and Helen Fox Sondheim. Sondheim influenced several generations of theater songwriters, particularly with such landmark musicals as â€œCompany,â€ â€œFolliesâ€ and â€œSweeney Todd,â€ which are considered among his best work. His most famous ballad, â€œSend in the Clowns,â€ has been recorded hundreds of times, including by Frank Sinatra and Judy Collins. â€œThe theater has lost one of its greatest geniuses and the world has lost one of its greatest and most original writers. Sadly, there is now a giant in the sky. But the brilliance of Stephen Sondheim will still be here as his legendary songs and shows will be performed for evermore,â€ producer Cameron Mackintosh wrote in tribute. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted: "Stephen Sondheim created fantastic worlds and characters, but at the heart of every story he told was a kid from New York City. And that kid was a legend. One of the brightest lights of Broadway is dark tonight. May he rest in peace." Six of Sondheimâ€™s musicals won Tony Awards for best score, and he also received a Pulitzer Prize (â€œSunday in the Parkâ€), an Academy Award (for the song â€œSooner or Laterâ€ from the film Dick Tracy), five Olivier Awards. The New-York born composer also won eight Grammy Awards, nine Tony awards - including the special Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre - and one Academy Award. In 2015, US President Barack Obama bestowed Sondheim the Presidential Medal of Freedom - the highest civilian award - for his work. Early in his career, Sondheim wrote the lyrics for two shows considered to be classics of the American stage, â€œWest Side Storyâ€ (1957) and â€œGypsyâ€ (1959). â€œWest Side Story,â€ with music by Leonard Bernstein, transplanted Shakespeareâ€™s â€œRomeo and Julietâ€ to the streets and gangs of modern-day New York. â€œGypsy,â€ with music by Jule Styne, told the backstage story of the ultimate stage mother and the daughter who grew up to be Gypsy Rose Lee
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