US music producer and CD pioneer Phil Ramone dies

Phil Ramone at 2008 National Arts Awards in New York A native of South Africa, Ramone learnt the violin at the age of three

The US music producer and pioneer of digital recording, Phil Ramone, has died aged 79.

Ramone is regarded as one of the most successful producers in history, winning 14 Grammy awards and working with stars such as Ray Charles, Bob Dylan, Elton John and Paul McCartney.

He produced the first major commercial release on CD, Billy Joel's 1982 album 52nd Street.

Some of his awards were for soundtracks to TV shows, films and stage plays.

A native of South Africa, Ramone learnt the violin at the age of three,

He became a US citizen at 12, and opened his own recording studio in 1958.

He produced three records that won Grammys for album of the year - Paul Simon's Still Crazy After All These Years in 1976, 52nd Street and Ray Charles' Genius Loves Company in 2005.

Michael Wood from the LA Times said Phil Ramone spent his career ''working with A-list singers for almost half a century''

"My career as an engineer and producer coincided with one of the most profound periods in pop music history: that of the contemporary singer-songwriter," he wrote in his 2007 book Making Records: The Scenes Behind the Music.

Ramone also won Grammys for soundtracks to Flashdance, the Broadway musical Promises, Promises, and an Emmy for a TV special about jazz great Duke Ellington.

His last Grammy came in 2012, when he won best traditional pop vocal album for producing the Tony Bennett album Duets II.

He was known for bringing artists together for duets, producing efforts by Frank Sinatra and Bono, and Tony Bennett and Paul McCartney among others.

Ramone had been in hospital for several weeks, where he was being treated for an aortic aneurysm.

Confirming his death, his son Matt Ramone said he was "very loving and will be missed".

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