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Brazilian Musician Bezerra da Silva Dead at 77

Brazilian singer and musician Bezerra da Silva, known for his songs glorifying Rio De Janeiro's slums and underworld, has died at the age of 77.

Doctors say he had been hospitalized for several months due to a lung infection.

Da Silva is known as the architect of the "Sambandido" style of music - which depicts life in the slums over traditional samba music. The style is often considered a precursor to American "gangsta rap."

Da Silva's lyrics focused on drugs, crime, poverty, police brutality and the persona of the "malandro," or a street-hustler who presided over Rio's slums several decades ago.

His songs included "Somebody Kidnapped my Mother-in-Law," and "Cocaine Overdose."

Born in northeastern Brazil, Da Silva reached Rio De Janeiro at the age of 15, working as a house painter before performing professionally as a musician.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.