French rock star Johnny Hallyday dies aged 74

French rock star Johnny Hallyday dies aged 74

The singer - real name Jean-Philippe Smet - sold about 100 million records and starred in a number of films.

Johnny Hallyday aka the "French Elvis" has died after battling lung cancer for several months.

"The rock "n" roll attitude which he brought from the US made him an idol to youth of the sixties", Macron's office said.

In a statement, his wife Laeticia said: "Johnny Hallyday has left us", the AFP news agency reports. He was popularly known as the "French Elvis Presley". It was their example that wants him to become a singer.

He signed with Vogue Records in 1959 and released his first single "Laisse les Filles" in 1960, followed by his debut album Hello Johnny.

While he was never taken seriously overseas, Hallyday broke from France's classic "chanson" tradition in the late 1950s, selling more than 100 million albums and headlining 50 major tours.

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Hallyday's 2001 concert at the Eiffel Tower drew a crowd as large as 600,000.

Despite his success at home, Hallyday failed to crack the lucrative American or any English-speaking market.

When asked the best compliment he could receive he once replied, "The show was good tonight".

During a year of military service he married fellow singer Sylvie Vartan, his first of five marriages. After his parents split, Hallyday moved to live with his aunt, Helena. "When the good days of rock "n" roll were over, the public could have abandoned him but a new life for him began".

Hallyday is survived by his wife Laeticia and their two adopted children Jade and Joy along with his son David Hallyday from his first marriage and daughter Laura Smet from his relationship with actress Nathalie Baye.

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