PV Entertainment Desk : One of the great stars of Italian opera Mirella Freni, who as an infant shared a wet nurse with Luciano Pavarotti, died Sunday at the age of 84 following a long illness, media reports said.

Born in 1935 in the northern town of Modena, Freni was a childhood friend of tenor Pavarotti and was also his partner on stage.

As infants they were looked after by the same woman as their mothers worked at the same tobacco factory and were unable to breastfeed them.

In a career that spanned five decades, Freni particularly shone in Italian opera and was famed for her roles as Mimi in Puccini’s “La Boheme” and Desdemona in Verdi’s “Otello”.

She was also a favourite of legendary conductor Herbert von Karajan.