Ella's Last Day
June 15, 1996 - On this day Ella Fitzgerald spent her last morning listening to birds in the backyard of her Beverly Hills home. She told her son, Ray, "I just want to smell the air, listen to the birds and hear Alice (her granddaughter) laugh." After a peaceful hour in her garden, Ella died with a smile on her face.
Orphaned at 15, Ella grew up on the streets of New York where she survived as a numbers runner for the mob. She got her big break at 17 when she won amateur night at the Apollo Theater. She would blossom into one of the greatest voices in jazz with a legendary career that spanned 6 decades and racked up 13 Grammy Awards.
Here's an excellent video from 1974 that highlights her amazing scat skills: