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Czech Roma singer Vera Bila dies at 64 of heart attack

In this June 12, 2011 photo, Czech Roma singer Vera Bila performs on stage in concert in Prague, Czech Republic. Czech singer Vera Bila who was known abroad as the Ella Fitzgerald of Gypsy music or the Queen of Romany has died, Tuesday March 12, 2019. (Vit Simanek/CTK via AP)

PRAGUE (AP) — Czech singer Vera Bila, dubbed the Ella Fitzgerald of Gypsy music or the Queen of Romany, has died. She was 64.

The Romea.cz server that writes about Roma issues says she died Tuesday morning of a heart attack in a hospital in Plzen. A member of her band, Jan Bendig, confirmed her death on Facebook.

Known for her trademark fusion of Gypsy music laced with Latin, jazz and pop influences, Bila and her band Kale (Blacks) performed in front of sellout crowds around the globe while her albums were released across Europe, in Israel, and the United States.

In recent years, Bila's career suffered setbacks due to health issues and a gambling problem.

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She was planning a comeback tour due to start on Friday.

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