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Colin Davies, the president of the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO), died on Sunday aged 85, the prestigious organisation announced.
"Sir Colin first conducted the LSO in 1959 and became principal conductor in 1995," said the statement.
"He was the longest-serving principal conductor in the LSO's history and has been at the head of the LSO family for many years.
"His musicianship and his humanity have been cherished by musicians and audiences alike."
The LSO paid tribute to Davies' "immense" contribution to British music, adding he would "be remembered with huge affection and admiration".
Davies was knighted in 1980 and collected two Grammy awards, the Royal Philharmonic Society Gold Medal and a Gramophone award during his illustrious career.
He also worked with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra.