Johnny Hallyday: French rock star dies aged 74
| Updated Dec 06, 2017 at 12:11pm
France's biggest rock star Johnny Hallyday has died after a battle with lung cancer. He was 74.
The singer sold about 100 million records and starred in a number of films in a career that began in 1960.
He was made a Chevalier of the Legion D'Honneur by President Jacques Chirac in 1997.
The French simply called him "Our Johnny". However, outside the Francophone zone, Hallyday was virtually unknown.
In a statement, his wife Laeticia said: "Johnny Hallyday has left us," the AFP news agency reports.
"I write these words without believing them. But yet, it's true. My man is no longer with us.
"He left us tonight as he lived his whole life, with courage and dignity," she said.
Hallyday, whose real name was Jean-Philippe Smet, decided he wanted to be a singer after seeing Elvis Presley on screen in 1957. Hallyday was nicknamed the French Presley by his numerous fans.
Reacting to the news, French President Emmanuel Macron referenced the title of a recent tribute album by saying: "There is a little bit of Johnny in all of us."
"Across generations, he carved himself into the lives of French people," Mr Macron said. "He charmed them through the generosity you saw in his concerts: so epic, so intimate, in huge venues, in small spots."
Among those to pay tribute was American guitarist Lenny Kravitz.
SOURCE: BBC NEWS