Big band leader James Last has died aged 86 at his home in Florida, his manager said.
The German-born musician sold millions of records and was a regular fixture on UK TV for many years.
In a statement, his manager said: " Mr Last passed away yesterday in Florida, peacefully and in the presence of his family."
Last started his career in the ruins of post-war Germany and went on to sell more than 80 million records.
His manager said he had died after a "short, severe illness".
She said: " In him, the world loses a unique ambassador whose expressive and all-encompassing language was music.
"We bid farewell to the man, friend and visionary, who by his impressive strength and openness, his professionalism, modesty and love of life served as a role model and as an inspiration for many generations worldwide."
Last, who had his first musical training as a military cadet during the Second World War, was famous for his big band arrangements of popular chart hits and also wrote film and television theme tunes.
He played a string of gigs at the Royal Albert Hall earlier this year as part of what was billed as his farewell tour.