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Ski fall puts Montreux jazzfest director in coma

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Photo: Yvan Hausmann
15:35 CET+01:00
Claude Nobs, founding director of the Montreux Jazz festival, is in a coma at a Lausanne hospital after falling in a cross-country skiing accident during the Christmas holidays.

The festival issued a statement on its website on Monday confirming that Nobs, 76, was being treated at CHUV, the university hospital, where he underwent surgery.

“He has remained to date in a state of unconsciousness,” according to the statement.

“His condition requires further tests, the results of which are not known.”

The exact circumstances of the accident were not released.

But Le Matin newspaper reported that, according to its sources, it occurred on December 24th when Nobs was skiing in Caux, a community above Montreux.

Jacqueline Pellet, a Montreux municipal councillor, earlier revealed on her Facebook site that Nobs had fallen while skiing.

Pellet said she was “profoundly saddened” by the news and hoped for good news to emerge about his recovery.

Nobs is regarded as a local hero in Montreux for his role in starting the Montreux Jazz festival, now internationally renowned as one of Europe’s top summer music events.

He organized the first festival at the age of 31 when he was director of the tourism office at Montreux, a town overlooking Lake Geneva in the canton of Vaud.

It subsequently developed into a major tour stop for top jazz artists, as well as rock and pop stars.

Nobs also became involved in the recording industry in the early 1970s when he became Swiss director of Warner, Elektra and Atlantic record companies.

The 47th annual Montreux Jazz Festival is scheduled to run from July 5th to 20th.

Festival organizers said “all necessary measures” had been taken to ensure the continued management of the festival, in accordance with plans in place for some time.

Mathieu Jaton, the festival’s secretary general, “assumes all of Claude Nobs’ responsibilities,” the festival said in its statement.

It promised to release further information about Nobs as it becomes available.

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