piccolo was diagnosed with cancer in 1969 at the age of 25 and died less than a year later.
1856, piccolo flute, from French piccolo, from Italian flauto piccolo "small flute," from piccolo "small," perhaps a children's made-up word, or from picca "point," or from Vulgar Latin root *pikk- "little," related to *piccare "to pierce" (see pike (n.2)). Other sources suggest it is from the same source as French petit (see petit (adj.)).
A small, high-pitched flute.