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WNY remembers Hall of Fame Talas rocker Phil Naro

Phil Naro

Western New York is mourning the death of legendary rocker and composer Phil Naro.

His family announced his death Monday at age 63 from cancer.

"He was a spectacular singer and performer with a powerful, distinctive voice," said his death notice. "He left us with an extraordinary amount of music which will allow his artistic legacy to live on forever. He fought a valiant battle to the end, and we thank him for sharing his life, love, friendship and talent with the world."

Born Philip Sampognaro, the Emmy-winning singer achieved cult status and international fame in the 1980s with the band Talas, whose founding members were Billy Sheehan on bass, Dave Costantino on guitar and Paul Varga on drums. Talas was the first band inducted into the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame.

Naro describes his relationship with music on his Facebook page, saying "Music is not what I do, it is who I am." He talked about the influence of Talas and his music in an interview with Ralph Vitale and Buffalo Music Hall of Famer Jim Crean posted March 27.

A Celebration of Life will be held at St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Penfield Friday. The service also will be live streamed at www.holyspirit-saintjoseph.org/online-ministries.