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Subject: Ukulele star Bill Tapia dies aged 103

Written By: Philip Eno on 12/04/11 at 10:26 am

Ukulele player Bill Tapia, who performed with the likes of Bing Crosby, Louis Armstrong and Elvis Presley, has died aged 103.

A statement posted on his website said he was "widely believed to be the oldest performing musician ever to take to the stage".

The musician, who received his first ukulele aged 7, died at his home in California.

He began his career entertaining World War I troops in 1918.

The obituary on his website said he was the "last living link to the earliest days of both jazz and the ukulele as a popular instrument".

A professional musician by the age of 10, he released his first CD, Tropical Swing, in 2004 aged 96.

The Honolulu-born musician, who was also known as Tappy, passed away just six months after releasing a live album celebrating his 100th birthday.

He was inducted into the Ukulele Hall of Fame in 2004 and received a lifetime achievement award from the Hawaiian Academy of Recording Arts earlier this year.

"He was perhaps the most beloved and revered figure in the ukulele world, and everyone who ever knew him or saw him perform will be forever inspired," the obituary on his website said.

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