Greek singer Demis Roussos dies aged 68

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Demis Roussos in Baku in 2013.
Image: Urek Meniashvili.

Greek singer Demis Roussos died on Sunday in Athens. The 68-year-old Roussos, born in Egypt, died in a private hospital. No official cause of death has been announced but the hospital said he had been there for some time. Roussos reached international fame in the 1960s and 70s. His hits included Forever and Ever, Quand je t'aime, and Goodbye.

Roussos, whose musical career started with work in cabaret, had success both as a solo artist and as part of a group. He belonged to progressive rock group Aphrodite's Child. After a successful career with Aphrodite's Child, Roussos went solo. His single Forever and Ever reached number one in several Single charts in 1973 and topped the UK Singles chart in 1976.

He and his family left Egypt in 1961, when he was a teenager, in the aftermath of the Suez crisis. Before the move he had studied and performed music in a Greek church. He was 17 when he joined group The Idols; while with The Idols he met Vangelis, who he would go on to form Aphrodite's Child with.

Vangelis released a statement about the death of his former bandmate Roussos. He said "Demis my friend. I have just arrived in London and I've been told that you decide to take the long voyage, I'm shocked because I can't believe that this happened so soon. Nature gave you this magic voice of yours which made millions of people around the world very happy. [...] As for me, I keep those special memories that we share together those early days and I wish you to be happy wherever you are. [...] Goodbye my friend goodbye. Love Vangelis."

Another tribute came from fellow Greek singer Nana Mouskouri. Speaking to French radio station RTL, she said "He had a superb voice, he travelled in the world [...] he loved what he was doing. He was an artist, a friend. I hope he is in a better world."

In 1985 he was a captive in the TWA Flight 847 hijacking. He was held for five days, one of which was his 39th birthday.

During his later life Roussos lived in several countries including France, United States and England. In 2013 he was awarded the French Legion of Honour during a ceremony in Athens.