Page last updated at 10:58 GMT, Saturday, 19 July 2008 11:58 UK

Singer Jo Stafford dies aged 90

Jo Stafford
Jo Stafford retired voluntarily after making her last recording in 1970

Band singer Jo Stafford has died at her home in Los Angeles at the age of 90.

The star was a big hit with US servicemen in World War II who nicknamed her GI Jo.

Stafford died of heart failure on Wednesday, her son Tim Weston said. He added that her health had been declining since October.

The singer had 26 charted singles, nearly a dozen top 10 hits and she also won a Grammy for a comedy album she released with husband Paul Weston.

'Reluctant star'

Born in Coalinga, California, Stafford began her career as a member of the Pied Pipers.

The group backed Frank Sinatra on his early recordings with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra in the late 1930s.

Speaking about Stafford, Sinatra once said: "It was a joy to sit on the bandstand and listen to her."

Despite her shyness, she had her own radio and TV series during the 40s and 50s.

Her son said she was a "reluctant star".

He added: "She loved making records and really didn't crave the attention of personal appearances."

Stafford voluntarily retired after making her last recording in 1970.

In addition to her son, Stafford is survived by a daughter, Amy Wells, and four grandchildren.

Weston died in 1996.

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