Culture

French singing legend Johnny Hallyday dies aged 74 after lung cancer battle

French singing legend Johnny Hallyday dies aged 74 after lung cancer battle”

The leather-clad would-be Elvis, known simply as Johnny, announced in March he had been diagnosed with the disease and would undergo treatment.

How big was Johnny Hallyday-the legendary French rock "n" roller/chanteur/movie star/national hero-in his native country? But yet, it's true. According to an official statement from his wife Laeticia, his family still can not believe that he is no longer with us. Also an actor, he appeared in more than 30 films.

President Emmanuel Macron led the mourning by declaring that "there is something of Johnny in all of us", and his officials said he and his wife Brigitte would attend the funeral.

Johnny Hallyday is gone.

Hallyday, whose real name was Jean-Philippe Smet, was born in Paris in 1943.

Inspired to pursue a performance career after watching Elvis Presley perform, Hallyday scored his first hit single, "Viens danser le twist", in 1961 - sending the French cover of Chubby Checker's "Let's Twist Again" to the top of the country's pop charts for seven weeks while he was still only a teenager. Similar to his idol, Hallyday's trademark was breathtaking, energetic stage shows played to hysterical fans.

Musician Brian Ray said Hallyday was a "fearless performer" who "will be missed by millions". Mr. Hallyday spent decades in what Britain's Independent newspaper once called "a ghetto of francophone idolatry". Though he never sang in English, he was widely influenced by American and British music.

Johnny Hallyday performing in Brussels in 2006.

Hallyday remained a draw late into his career. French-Canadian singer Celine Dion tweeted that she was very saddened to hear of his death.

Lenny Kravitz paid tribute to the star as he wrote on Twitter: "Farewell Dear @JohnnySjh. Repose en paix (Rest in peace)".

Hallyday, who'd faced a variety of health issues later in life, ultimately succumbed to lung cancer.

Hallyday gave his last concert on July 5, in the city of Carcassonne, in the south of France.



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