Boney M's Bobby Farrell is dead
Published 30/12/2010 | 12:46
Bobby Farrell of the 1970s chart-topping group Boney M has been found dead in his hotel bed while on tour in Russia, his agent said.
The 61-year-old singer performed as scheduled in St Petersburg on Wednesday night, but complained of breathing problems before and after his show, according to agent John Seine.
Bobby, who lived in Amsterdam, was more a dancer and showman than a singer when he was part of the original Boney M in the 1970s.
The group, based in Germany, broke into the charts with Daddy Cool in 1978. That year their version of By The Rivers Of Babylon sold nearly two million records in Britain alone, keeping it at number one for five weeks.
Alphonso "Bobby" Farrell left his home on the Caribbean island of Aruba at 15 to work as a sailor, then drifted to Norway and Germany to pursue a career as a DJ, according to his official biography.
He was chosen in 1974 to front Boney M, put together by German singer and songwriter Frank Farian, who did much of the recorded singing.
In 1978 Boney M were the first Western music group invited by a Soviet leader, Leonid Brezhnev, to perform in the Soviet Union. A Soviet military plane flew the performers from London to Moscow, where they sang for an audience of 2,700 Russians in Red Square.
The original group broke up in 1986 and Bobby continued on his own or with various female back-up singers, maintaining his flamboyant style and glittering costumes.
Seine said the cause of death was not known, but Bobby had suffered health problems off-and-on for 10 years. He said he was found dead by hotel staff after he failed to respond to a wake-up call.