Jessye Norman

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In her remarkable career, the late Jessye Norman graced the great opera stages of the world, including the Metropolitan Opera. In 2014, the American soprano remembered her first encounter with opera in a small room in Augusta, GA.

Opera fans are mourning one of the world's most revered voices.

Soprano Jessye Norman died Monday morning at Mount Sinai St. Luke's Hospital in New York. Her death was confirmed to NPR by a spokesperson for her family, Gwendolyn Quinn, as well as a representative from the Jessye Norman School of the Arts. The official cause of death was septic shock and multi-organ failure, secondary to complications of a spinal cord injury she had sustained in 2015. She was 74.

When it comes to sheer vocal opulence, it's tough to top Jessye Norman. There's a majesty and intimacy in her voice — immense as the Grand Canyon yet warm and confidential. The five-time Grammy winner is one of the most celebrated opera singers of our time.

Jessye Norman's commanding soprano voice makes her the quintessential operatic diva for many listeners. But she frequently draws inspirations from jazz: She ranks singers like Billie Holiday, Mabel Mercer and Sarah Vaughan high on her list of influences.