Singer, dancer and actor Raffaella Carrà, an icon of Italian television who revolutionised entertainment, has died at the age of 78.

The news of her death was given by her long-standing partner Sergio Iapino.

"Raffaella has left us. She has gone to a better world, where her humanity, her unmistakable laugh and her extraordinary talent will shine forever," he said.

Also popular in Spain and Latin America, Carrà was born Raffaella Pelloni on June 18, 1943 in Rimini.

She acted in a dozens of films between 1960 and 1970, including 1965's Von Ryan's Express with Frank Sinatra. That same year Carrà performed in the musical comedy Scaramouche.

In the 1960s she ventured into television, appearing on the shows like Tempo di Danza, Il Paroliere, and Questo Sconosciuto.

In 1970, in the show Io, Agata e Tu, Carrà launched the popular dance tuca-tuca as a musical recording.

In 1971, she had another success in the TV show Canzonissima, performing the theme song "Chissà se Va."

From the mid-1970s onward Carrà was a popular TV hostess of various shows in Italy (Ma Che Sera, Fantastico 3, Pronto...Raffaella?, Domenica In, Weekend con Raffaella Carrà) and in Spain (Hola Raffaella).

The gay icon went on to become a pop star and actor in South America, but returned to Europe, and by the 1980s had eased into her role as a chat show host, which she remained until last year.

In 1984, weekly L'Espresso had described Carrà as "More applauded than [president] Pertini, more expensive than [football player] Michel Platini, more miraculous than [modern saint] Padre Pio."

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