World's longest serving symphony player dies during encore

Meet the World's Longest Serving Symphony Musician
Meet the World's Longest Serving Symphony Musician

Jane Little was 87 years old, under five feet tall and for 71 consecutive years — a Guinness World Record — she played double bass with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.

On Sunday, during an encore performance of "There's No Business Like Show Business," Little lost consciousness on stage and later died, the symphony said in a statement Monday.

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"We can say that Jane was fortunate to do what she loved until the very end of her storied life and career," the symphony said in a Facebook post Sunday.

Related: Double Bass Musician Earns Record as World's Longest-Serving Symphony Player

Little was born in Atlanta and became a founding member of the orchestra's predecessor, the Atlanta Youth Symphony Orchestra, and mastered the group's largest and lowest-pitched instrument.

For years, she was the orchestra's only female musician; her husband, Warren Little, was its principal flutist.

"He would carry my bass and I would carry his flute," she told NBC News earlier this year. "If people saw me carrying my bass around to rehearsal, they'd say, 'Well the Littles aren't getting along today because she's carrying her bass.'"

The couple had no children, and in 2002 — after nearly five decades of marriage — her husband died.

Little is survived by nephews and several great nieces and nephews, the symphony said.

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Originally published