France's king of rock Johnny Hallyday dies aged 74, says wife

Angelo Anderson
December 7, 2017

Johnny Hallyday was dubbed the "French Elvis" and sold over 110 million records worldwide. Also an actor, he appeared in more than 30 films.

French President Emmanuel Macron, who knew the star offstage, announced his death in a statement, saying "he brought a part of America into our national pantheon".

Sarkozy called the Hallyday family during an European Union summit, to give them updates on the singer's condition during news conferences.

Born on June 15 1943, he attempted suicide in 1966, collapsed on stage in 1986 and married five times, twice to the same woman, the daughter of one of his oldest friends and songwriters. "Memories, happy moments, songs and music", said former president Nicolas Sarkozy in December 2009, just days after Hallyday, then 66, was hospitalised in Los Angeles.

During his life, Hallyday's repertoire evolved and become more eclectic. His capacity to sing a wide variety of music genre is often cited as one of the reasons for his tremendous popularity in France. Mr. Hallyday spent decades in what Britain's Independent newspaper once called "a ghetto of francophone idolatry". A large number of his recordings were French adaptations of English-language songs.

Johnny Hallyday performing in Brussels in 2006.

His career took off the following year, when a concert at the newly built Palais des Sports ended in a riot of leather-jacketed fans, terrifying cultural critics who thought Mr. Hallyday was a negative influence on the country's youth.

Artists from all over the world posted tributes for the late rock singer, including French-Canadian legend Celine Dion. He was a giant in show business.a true icon! "Repose en paix (Rest in peace)".

Hallyday had lung cancer and repeated health scares in recent years that dominated national news, and recently returned from a hospital stay. He said he considered it his therapy.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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