Lebanon’s veteran musician Elias Rahbani dies aged 83 after contracting COVID-19

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Elias Rahbani, who wrote songs for Lebanon’s most revered singer Fairouz among many others, died on Monday at the age of 83 a week after testing positive for COVID-19, local media reported.

Elias was the youngest brother of celebrated musicians Mansour and Assi Rahbani, known together as the Rahbani brothers.

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Fairouz’s songs, written by the Rahbanis, were listened to across religious and factional divides throughout Lebanon’s 1975-1990 civil war and they continue to transcend divisions in Lebanon and beyond.

“Another branch from the Rahbani tree falls after a journey full of refined music production,” Prime Minister-designate Saad al Hariri wrote on Twitter.

The Rahbanis’ music and lyrics have drawn admiration from across the Arab world.

In a career spanning almost six decades, Elias Rahbani wrote music for many famous Lebanese singers including the late Wadih al-Safi and Sabah.

“Your departure takes with it a large part of the romanticism of our wounded country,” Lebanese singer Ragheb Alama said.

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