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87-Year-Old Musician Dies After Performing 'There's No Business Like Show Business'

At 4 feet 11 inches, Atlanta musician Jane Little managed to master a 6-foot-5 instrument.

For 71 years, Jane Little was the bassist for the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.

That incredible tenure ended Sunday when the 87-year-old musician collapsed onstage during a rendition of "There's No Business Like Show Business."

“It was the last minute of the last piece on the program,” fellow bassist Michael Kurth told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Her bass crashed into my bass, she fell over onto the floor, and as quickly as we could, we dropped our instruments and got her offstage.”

Little was briefly revived by emergency responders before being transported to Grady Memorial Hospital, where she later died, ArtATL.com reports.

Little's last performance was fitting considering her entire adult life had been in show business.

She joined the symphony in 1945 as a member of its youth orchestra, and stuck around. 

Amazingly, the 4-foot-11 Little managed to have a successful career playing the double bass, an instrument that, at 6 feet 5 inches, towered over her.

She told reporters the size of her instrument was one reason she chose to marry flautist Warren Little, her husband of 41 years.

“’I must say that when I met Warren, I was very impressed that he played a small instrument, so he could carry my bass around!'” she said, according to the Washington Post.

Her husband retired in 1992 and died in 2002.

Jane Little, a bassist who spent 71 years with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, died Sunday while performing "There's No Busin
Jane Little, a bassist who spent 71 years with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, died Sunday while performing "There's No Business Like Show Business."

Little's dedication to the instrument even as she fought many physical setbacks, including multiple myeloma, as well as a broken shoulder, elbow and pelvis over the years.

“It’s just mind-boggling,” says Timothy Cobb, the principal bassist with the New York Philharmonic told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “It takes a tremendous amount of physical power, frankly, and just brute force to play in a big orchestra."

"I have had friends who have made it into their 70s, but to be pumping it out in the orchestra is really something,” he said.

No plans for a service honoring Little have been announced, but the ASO is waiting to see if Guinness World Records will officially honor her as the musician with the longest tenure with one orchestra, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constituion.

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