Ella Fitzgerald, also known as “First Lady of Song” and “Lady Ella”, captured audiences everywhere with her ethereal voice and commanding vocal range. She was one of the originators of “scat singing” and a masterful musical improviser.
“I never knew how good our songs were,” songwriter Ira Gershwin once said, “until I heard Ella Fitzgerald sing them.”
Throughout her career, Fitzgerald led big bands and symphony orchestras with a versatile repertory that spanned show tunes, jazz arrangements, novelties, bossa nova, and even classical opera.
Despite her professional prowess, her health showed signs of weakness fairly early in her life. The culprit? Type 2 diabetes.
Beginning in the 1970s, Fitzgerald began to have eyesight problems complicated by the disease, and in 1986 she had serious heart surgery. Despite the procedure, she made a triumphant return to the stage that next year.
Her triumphant spirit helped her push through even after both legs were amputated below the knee, continuing to perform regularly in the early 1990s.
Toward the end of her life, the jazz legend was confined to a wheelchair and spend most of her time in her Beverly Hills home. Like many others, she became a victim of a disease that has killed individuals from all walks of life.
What is type 2 diabetes?
Per the CDC, diabetes is the irregulation of insulin in the body. Insulin is a hormone made by your pancreas that acts like a key to let blood sugar into the cells in your body for use as energy.