Enrico Caruso, one of the great operatic tenors of history, was one of 22 children. His family was very poor and his mother died when he was 15. Caruso worked at a factory, moving up to a bookkeeper position. His earnings helped support the family. Caruso began singing lessons early and his career began in the church choir. He later joined a touring company as the understudy tenor. His fame arrived when he sang with Dame Nellie Melba in La Boheme in 1902 at Monte Carlo. His London and New York debuts came the following year in the role of the duke in Rigoletto. A heavy smoker, Caruso died of lung cancer at the age of 48.