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Billy Joel's mother, inspiration for 'Rosalinda's Eyes,' dies in New York at age 92

This undated photo provided by billyjoel.com shows the mother of Billy Joel, Rosalind Nyman Joel, who inspired the singer-songwriter to write

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This undated photo provided by billyjoel.com shows the mother of Billy Joel, Rosalind Nyman Joel, who inspired the singer-songwriter to write "Rosalinda's Eyes." THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, billyjoel.com

HICKSVILLE, N.Y. - Billy Joel's mother, who inspired him to write "Rosalinda's Eyes," has died in New York at age 92.

Rosalind Nyman Joel died Sunday on Long Island, said Claire Mercuri, a spokeswoman for the singer and songwriter.

"Rosalinda's Eyes," from Joel's 1978 album "52nd Street" was a tribute to his mother, who raised him alone after divorcing his father, Howard Joel, in 1957.

The lyrics include the words: "I've got music in my hands; The work is hard to find; But that don't get me down; Rosalinda understands."

Rosalind Joel worked in a clerical capacity for various businesses near her home in Hicksville and supported a number of charities.

Born in Brooklyn to English immigrants, she met her husband in 1942 at a City College musical production and married him three years later. Billy Joel was born in 1949. The couple later adopted Judy, the daughter of Rosalind's late sister Muriel.

Billy Joel endowed the Rosalind Joel Scholarship for the Performing Arts at City College in 1986.

In lieu of flowers, the family requested that donations be made to The Little Shelter animal rescue and adoption centre in Huntington, Long Island.

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Online:

www.billyjoel.com

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