Stephen Sondheim, hailed as one of Broadway’s most iconic and influential songwriters, died early Friday at his Connecticut home, the New York Times reported. He was 91.
Sondheim, whose works included West Side Story and Sweeney Todd, did not have any known illness and his death was sudden, his friend and lawyer, F. Richard Pappas, told the Times. He had celebrated Thanksgiving with friends in Roxbury on Thursday, Pappas added.
Sondheim was a prolific composer and lyricist since the 1950s and his innovative and celebrated work for shows like Company, Follies, Into the Woods, Gypsy, Sunday in the Park with George, among many others, is widely credited with setting a new standard in American musical theater.
Through his decades-ling career, Sondheim received multiple awards, including six Tony Awards for best score, a Pulitzer Prize for Sunday in The Park, an Oscar for the song “Sooner or Later” from the movie Dick Tracy, and five Olivier Awards, the Washington Post reported. In 2015, then-president Barack Obama awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Stars, including Hugh Jackman and Barbara Streisand, as well as theatre fans flooded social media with tributes to the songwriting titan, with some sharing personal stories of how much his work had impacted them.
Sondheim was known for sending personal and thoughtful letters to those who wrote to him and many shared the touching notes they had received from him.
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