Tributes paid to US music producer Phil Ramone

Phil Ramone at 2008 National Arts Awards in New York A native of South Africa, Ramone learnt the violin at the age of three

Music stars have paid tribute to US producer and compact disc pioneer Phil Ramone, who has died at the age of 79.

Singer Tony Bennett said on Facebook: "Phil Ramone was a lovely person and a very gifted musician and producer... it was a joy to have him work with me."

Ramone is regarded as one of the most successful music producers in history.

He won 14 Grammy awards and worked with stars such as Ray Charles, Bob Dylan, Elton John and Paul McCartney.

Ramone had been in hospital for several weeks, where he was being treated for an aortic aneurysm.

Confirming his death, his son Matt Ramone said he was "very loving and will be missed".

Phil Ramone's last Grammy came in 2012, when he won best traditional pop vocal album for producing Bennett's album Duets II.

"He had a wonderful sense of humour and a deep love of music. Phil had the admiration and respect from everyone in the entertainment industry and his passing is a great loss," Bennett added in his statement.

Other artists took to Twitter to pay tribute.

Gloria Estefan tweeted: "Sending prayers & good thoughts 2 the loved ones of our dear friend & colleague, the unequalled Phil Ramone. RIP friend, we will miss u always!"

Singer-songwriter Josh Groban tweeted: "I'm filled with sadness at the news of Phil Ramone's passing. He was a great friend and made music the right way."

Michael Wood from the LA Times said Phil Ramone spent his career ''working with A-list singers for almost half a century''

Julian Lennon also took to Twitter, saying he was "deeply saddened to hear the news of my dear friend & first-ever producer, Phil Ramone's passing."

Ramone produced the first major commercial release on CD, Billy Joel's 1982 album 52nd Street.

Some of his awards were for soundtracks to TV shows, films and stage plays.

A native of South Africa, Ramone learnt the violin at the age of three,

He became a US citizen at 12, and opened his own recording studio in 1958.

He produced three records that won Grammys for album of the year - Paul Simon's Still Crazy After All These Years in 1976, 52nd Street and Ray Charles' Genius Loves Company in 2005.

"My career as an engineer and producer coincided with one of the most profound periods in pop music history: that of the contemporary singer-songwriter," he wrote in his 2007 book Making Records: The Scenes Behind the Music.

Ramone also won Grammys for soundtracks to Flashdance, the Broadway musical Promises, Promises, and an Emmy for a TV special about jazz great Duke Ellington.

He was known for bringing artists together for duets, producing efforts by Frank Sinatra and Bono, and Tony Bennett and Paul McCartney among others.

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