Bee Gees star Robin Gibb does aged 62 after cancer battle
The music world was in mourning today after Robin Gibb of the Bee Gees died aged 62 following a lengthy battle with cancer.
The British singer and songwriter sold more than 200 million records and notched up dozens of hits with brothers Maurice and Barry during a career spanning more than half a century.
With their trademark falsetto close harmonies, the trio helped turn disco into a global phenomenon with hits including Stayin’ Alive and Night Fever, which featured on the soundtrack of the 1977 film Saturday Night Fever, starring John Travolta.
His family announced his death yesterday prompting an outpouring of grief from fans and fellow members of the music industry.
Broadcaster Paul Gambaccini described the musician as "talented beyond even his own understanding" and "one of the important figures in the history of British music", while stars including Bryan Adams and Mick Hucknall also paid emotional tributes.
A statement released by relatives said: "The family of Robin Gibb, of the Bee Gees, announce with great sadness that Robin passed away following his long battle with cancer and intestinal surgery. The family have asked that their privacy is respected at this very difficult time."
Gibb had surgery on his bowel 18 months ago for an unrelated condition but a tumour was discovered and he was diagnosed with cancer of the colon and subsequently of the liver.
He fell into a coma last month after contracting pneumonia and was given 10 per cent chance of survival but astounded loved-ones with his recovery, “beating the odds" just days after doctors said he "was in God's hands".
Gibb’s twin brother Maurice died of a heart attack in 2003 following intestinal surgery, while his younger brother Andy, who was not part of the Bee Gees but a successful singer in his own right, died in 1988 from heart failure at 30.
The Bee Gees' hits catalogue, which also includes Massachusetts, I've Gotta Get A Message To You, Lonely Days, How Can You Mend A Broken Heart and How Deep Is Your Love, led to their induction into both the Rock and Roll and Songwriters Halls of Fame.
Gambaccini said: "Everyone should be aware that the Bee Gees are second only to Lennon and McCartney as the most successful songwriting unit in British popular music.
"Their accomplishments have been monumental. Not only have they written their own number one hits, but they wrote huge hit records for Barbra Streisand, Diana Ross, Dionne Warwick, Celine Dion, Destiny's Child, Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers, the list goes on and on.
"What must also be said is Robin had one of the best white soul voices ever. He was singing lead on his first number one when he was 17, that was Massachusetts."
Many people took to micro blogging site Twitter to pay their respects.
A statement posted by Sony Music said: "Rest in peace, Robin Gibb. Thanks for the music."
Former deputy prime minister John Prescott wrote: "Just heard about Robin Gibb.
"A good friend, a brilliant musician and a man who turned all of us into wannabe Travoltas!
"Rest in peace Robin."
Canadian rocker Adams was also among the stars paying tribute, saying: "Robin Gibb RIP. Very sad to hear about yet another great singer dying too young."