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Opera singer and St. Louisan Robert McFerrin, Sr. dies

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Photo of Robert McFerrin, Sr. from St. Louis Walk of Fame website

By AP/KWMU

St. Louis, MO – Opera singer and St. Louisan Robert McFerrin, Sr. died Friday at the age of 85. McFerrin is best known for providing vocals for the 1959 movie "Porgy and Bess."

He also was the first black man to sing solo at the Met in New York.

McFerrin had a stroke in 1989 but was still able to tour and sing until 1998.

His son is Grammy-award singer Bobby McFerrin, who's best known for the song "Don't Worry Be Happy." His daughter, Brenda McFerrin, is also a recording artist.

In the late 1940s and early '50s, McFerrin sang on Broadway, performed with the National Negro Opera Company and the New York City Opera Company.

In 1953, McFerrin won the Metropolitan Opera national auditions. His 1955 debut with the Metropolitan Opera made him the first black male member of the company.

He also was enshrined on the St. Louis Walk of Fame in 2004.

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