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Stephen Sondheim dead at 91: Broadway legend passes away 'suddenly'

Broadway legend Stephen Sondheim has died aged 91.

The famed American composer and lyricist passed away 'suddenly' at his Roxbury, Conn. home, according to his lawyer F. Richard Pappas, The New York Times reported.

Pappas said that Sondheim had celebrated Thanksgiving the day prior with his friends surrounding him.

Stephen Sondheim dead at 91: Broadway legend passes away 'suddenly' day after celebrating Thanksgiving (Pictured in 2004) 

Sondheim wrote the words for West Side Story and Gypsy; and the music and lyrics for a celebrated list of shows that include A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum, Follies, A Little Night Music, and Sunday In The Park With George. 

The composer was born on March 22, 1930, to his upper-middle-class parents, Herbert and Janet Sondheim in New York City. 

His father was a dress manufacturer while his mother worked in the same industry as a fashion designer and interior decorator. 

At a very young age, he studied piano for two years which is where his interest in the musical stage began, and continued throughout his education. 

Honors: Above, Sondheim is presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama in 2015 

After his parents divorced when he was 10, he began tutoring with lyricist Oscar Hammerstein, who won eight Tony Awards and two Oscars for Best Original Song over his career.

At 15, he began writing his first musical, which was a satire inspired by his  high school in Newtown, Pennsylvania.  

Impressive: Sondheim's career spanned more than 60 years, and he was known for co-creating Broadway theatre classics including Sweeney Todd and Into the Woods, which both went on to become hit movies; seen in 2008

Sondheim's career spanned more than 60 years, and he was known for co-creating Broadway theatre classics including Sweeney Todd and Into the Woods, which both went on to become hit movies. 

The composer had his first big hit with West Side Story when he was just 27 years old, and he went on to be praised for having 'reinvented the American musical.'

On the news of his death, producer Cameron Mackintosh issued a statement to The Guardian which read: 'The theatre has lost one of its greatest geniuses and the world has lost one of its greatest and most original writers. Sadly, there is now a giant in the sky. But the brilliance of Stephen Sondheim will still be here as his legendary songs and shows will be performed for evermore. Goodbye old friend and thank you from all of us.' 

Beyond talented: The composer had his first big hit with West Side Story when he was just 27 years old, and he went on to be praised for having 'reinvented the American musical' (pictured in 1973)

60-year long career: Sondheim seen standing beside an advertisement for one of his shows in 1976

And celebrities around the world have already begun paying homage to the legendary composer, including Barbra Streisand.

She wrote on Twitter: 'Thank the Lord that Sondheim lived to be 91 years old so he had the time to write such wonderful music and GREAT lyrics!'

While Anna Kendrick added: 'I was just talking to someone a few nights ago about how much fun (and f****** difficult) it is to sing Stephen Sondheim. Performing his work has been among the greatest privileges of my career. A devastating loss. (sic)'   

Honoring his legacy: Celebrities around the world have already begun paying homage to the legendary composer, including Barbra Streisand

'Every so often someone comes along that fundamentally shifts an entire art form. Stephen Sondheim was one of those,' Hugh Jackson tweeted

Tributes: Additionally, Idina Menzel took to Twitter to mourn Sondheim, by writing: 'Goodbye dear sir. We will spend our lives trying to make you proud'

'Every so often someone comes along that fundamentally shifts an entire art form. Stephen Sondheim was one of those,' Hugh Jackson tweeted. 

The 53-year-old The Wolverine actor: 'As millions mourn his passing I also want to express my gratitude for all he has given to me and so many more. Sending my love to his nearest and dearest.' 

And Josh Gad also tweeted: 'Perhaps not since April 23rd of 1616 has theater lost such a revolutionary voice. Thank you Mr. Sondheim for your Demon Barber, some Night Music, a Sunday in the Park, Company, fun at a Forum, a trip Into the Woods and telling us a West Side Story. RIP. 

'American musical theater has lost a towering giant. Stephen Sondheim's legacy of song and lyric in unparalleled. From West Side Story to Sweenie Todd, from Gypsy to Sunday in the Park with George, there will never be a master like him,' George Takei tweeted

Paying homage: Robert Rinder shared a quote about Sondheim, which read: 'Art is infinite. It has no beginning and no end'

Additionally, Idina Menzel took to Twitter to mourn Sondheim, by writing: 'Goodbye dear sir. We will spend our lives trying to make you proud.'

'American musical theater has lost a towering giant. Stephen Sondheim's legacy of song and lyric in unparalleled. From West Side Story to Sweenie Todd, from Gypsy to Sunday in the Park with George, there will never be a master like him,' George Takei tweeted. 

Robert Rinder shared a quote about Sondheim, which read: 'Art is infinite. It has no beginning and no end.'