Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos dies aged 80

11 June 2014, 12:12 | Updated: 11 June 2014, 12:22

The Spanish conductor died yesterday at his home in Pamplona, after a long battle with cancer.

Born on 15 September 1933, Frühbeck de Burgos first took up conducting while on military service in the army, progressing to the Hochschule für Musik in Munich. He went on to work with orchestras across the world, including the Rundfunkorchester Berlin, the Deutsche Oper Berlin, the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, the Bilbao Orchestra and the Vienna Symphony.

From 2011 until his retirement he held the position of chief conductor of the Danish National Symphony Orchestra and enjoyed a close relationship with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, leading the musicians a total of 133 times between 2000 and 2014. He performed his final concert on 14 March 2014.

The conductor's health has been a concern since 2012, when he arrived for a weekend of performances in Boston looking extremely frail. Despite undergoing surgery, he continued to conduct from a stool if he was unable to stand for extended period of time, but was forced to resign officially last week.

"After meeting with my doctors," he said in a statement on Wednesday, "I have come to the following conclusion: I have to recognize publicly that I have cancer and that in this state of health and with deep sorrow I am not able to conduct at my standards and the moment to quit professional matters has come."