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March 25, 1998 12:00 AM

Radio, TV and jukebox legend Perry Como, 88, died in his sleep at his Florida home on Saturday after a lengthy illness. (Como reportedly suffered with Alzheimer’s for the past two years.) “We spent two beautiful hours (on Friday) with dad, me and my grandson, Holden,” Como’s daughter, Terri Dhibadeau, told the Palm Beach Post. “We shared ice cream. It was a wonderful moment for us.” It seemed a proper, homey sendoff for the crooner, a former barber whose smooth baritone and easy-going style made him a star. The late Bing Crosby referred to Como as “the man who invented casual,” and Tony Bennett, in a statement released this weekend, remembered Como for his “warmth, relaxed charm and genuine goodness.” As the Emmy-winning star of NBC’s “Kraft Musical Hall” in the ’50s and early ’60s, Como was a TV fixture, especially at Christmas. His hits, which included “Catch a Falling Star” and, during a career resurgence in the ’70s, “It’s Impossible,” helped Como sell 100 million records. His wife, Roselle Como, died in August 1998, less than two weeks after she and Como celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary. Como’s funeral mass is set for Friday, which would have been his 89th birthday.

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