Esma was born in Skopje in 1943 and started performing in 1956, when she was a schoolgirl. In 1958 she recorded her first record, Zoshto Si Me Majko Rodila, and after that her greatest hit Chaje Shukarije. In 1960 she performed at the famous Olympia in Paris. She was crowned as the Queen of Gypsy Music in 1976 at the First Gypsy World Festival which was held in India. Esma had a successful career spanning several decades and recorded more than 500 songs and had two platinum and eight gold discs.
Esma also broke into films and in addition to her creative work, she was a political activist and known for her humanitarian work. During the 1970s and 1980s she fostered 47 children and regularly performed for charitable causes. She represented FYR Macedonia in 2013 alongside Vlatko Lozanoski with the song Pred Da Se Razdeni.
Jon Ola Sand, the Executive Supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest tweeted:
On behalf of the entire Eurovision family, we extend our condolences to Esma's family, friends and fans.