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S P E C I A L Sinatra: The songs, the voice, the style
Half Staff
Flags flew at half-staff at the American Pavilion at the Cannes Film Festival

'He was the original'

International reaction on Sinatra's death pouring in

May 15, 1998
Web posted at: 2:07 p.m. EDT (1807 GMT)

CANNES, France (CNN) -- People around the world, from heads of state to record store clerks, are mourning the death of Frank Sinatra.

The entertainer passed away late Thursday in Los Angeles. His death sparked an outpouring of emotion from the millions who loved his music, his movies, and his style.

Reaction was strong from Cannes, where thousands of Hollywood celebrities and industry officials are gathered for the annual film festival.

"For me, Frank Sinatra was a great, uncompromising artist."
-- Johnny Depp

The original

"There will never be another one like him," director Martin Scorsese said from Cannes. "You know, he was the idol. He was the original. I am very, very upset."

"Frank Sinatra was part of that golden age," said Giles Jacob, head of the Cannes Film Festival. "It was people who knew how to do everything: move, sing, speak, dance, sing."

"He was one of the most romantic figures ever," Harvey Weinstein, co-chief of Miramax Film, said. "Part of America died today."

Actor Johnny Depp, also visiting the Riviera town, called Sinatra "a great, uncompromising hero." He added, "It's a huge loss."

Tery Gilliam
"We're doing interviews here for 'Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,' but Frank Sinatra is not here to watch it. Las Vegas was really his town. Goodbye, Frank."
-- Terry Gilliam

A performer for the common man

The self-described "skinny kid from Hoboken" was revered all over the world. He performed for Queen Elizabeth of Britain, and Prince Rainier and Princess Grace of Monaco. Yet though he walked with royalty, he never seemed to lose the common touch, and his fans loved him for it.

"He was a symbol for all French people, one of the last of the world's greatest crooners," said one Parisian mourning Sinatra's death.

Italians also grieved for the singer that many there consider a countryman. "We can say he was always very popular here in Italy. Besides the fact that he was Italian, he had a wonderful voice," said one Rome resident. "His records still sell very well, especially his greatest hits."

'Heaven's chorus is a little brighter'

French President Jacques Chirac released a touching statement on the death of his friend.

"I had the luck to know him, and the friendship between us was immediate," Chirac said. "He of course had his talent, his charisma, and his voice, which put rhythm into, accompanied and made our entire era dream, but he also had his personality -- warm, passionate."

Former U.S. President Ronald Reagan and wife Nancy issued a statement saying they've lost a dear friend. "Today, the sound of heaven's chorus is a little brighter and more beautiful," the statement read.

A man outside the Cannes Film Festival croons "My Way" in French. Sinatra was often imitated, but never duplicated

'Greater than Elvis'

Robert Elms, of Greater London Radio, said Sinatra's death means to him that "a whole epoch is gone." Sinatra, to him, was "the last man who can wear a snap brim hat with a double band and undo a tie on a suit and still look cool."

Singer Max Bygraves said part of Sinatra's power rested in the way he handled a song.

"He made the words matter," Bygraves told BBC Television. "He read the lyric before he ever heard the tune. He wondered what the lyric was all about."

At the Virgin record shop in London, Tom Hancock was putting out his extra stock of Sinatra recordings.

"He's the last of an era," Hancock said. "Frank was bigger, he was greater than Elvis Presley. He was more respected as an artist."

Reporter Jennifer Glasse contributed to this report.

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