Video: Bee Gees star Robin Gibb dies after cancer battle
ROBIN Gibb, the singer who notched up a string of worldwide hits as part of the Bee Gees, died yesterday after a long battle with cancer. He was 62.
With his twin brother Maurice – who died in 2003 – and elder brother Barry, Gibb sold more than 200 million records and helped turn disco into a worldwide phenomenon.
Popular hits include How Deep Is Your Love, Stayin’ Alive, and Tragedy. The brothers also wrote major hits for other artists including Diana Ross’s Chain Reaction and Islands In The Stream for Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers.
The Bee Gees captured the sound and look of an era on the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, posing in tight white outfits on the cover of the album, which featured the brothers’ trademark falsetto close harmonies.
Recently, Gibb had been a staunch supporter of veterans’ charities.
Last year he re-recorded the Bee Gees hit I’ve Gotta Get A Message To You with military group The Soldiers in aid of the Poppy Appeal.
He last performed on stage in February supporting injured servicemen and women at a charity concert at the London Palladium.
Gibb was also involved in a campaign to build a permanent memorial in the capital for veterans of World War Two’s Bomber Command.
He was made a CBE in 2002, along with his brothers.
Gibb had found it particularly difficult to come to terms with the death of his twin in 2003, describing him as “part of the fabric of my life”.
Last night in a statement his family said: "The family of Robin Gibb, of the Bee Gees, announce with great sadness that Robin passed away today following his long battle with cancer and intestinal surgery.
“The family have asked that their privacy is respected at this very difficult time."
Gibb's twin brother Maurice died of a heart attack in 2003 following intestinal surgery.
Broadcaster Paul Gambaccini said Gibb was "talented beyond even his own understanding".
He 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."
The star fell into a coma last month after contracting pneumonia but his family later said he had "beaten the odds" just days after doctors said he "was in God's hands".
At the time, his son Robin-John Gibb said his father was "completely compos mentis".
Doctors said they were "confounded" by the 62-year-old Gibb's progress after he was given a 10pc chance of survival.
His family maintained a bedside vigil while he was been treated at a central London hospital.
Gibb's relatives sang to him and wife Dwina said that he had cried when she played him the song Crying by Roy Orbison.
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.
Robin and his twin Maurice were born on the Isle of Man to English parents on December 22, 1949, three years after their brother Barry.
The trio started out as a child act encouraged by their father Hugh, a band leader, and their mother Barbara, a former singer. They continued performing when the family moved to Brisbane, Australia, in 1958.
They took the name Bee Gees, an abbreviation of Brothers Gibb, signed to the Australian label Festival Records and released a series of singles written by Barry while in their teenage years, before later returning to seek success in the UK
Tributes to Gibb poured in last night.
Former Westlife star Brian McFadden paid tribute on Twitter, saying: "Rip robin Gibb. I hope you're at peace now."
Former British 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 rock singer Bryan Adams was also among the stars paying tribute, saying: "Robin Gibb RIP. Very sad to hear about yet another great singer dying too young."
British singer songwriter Mick Hucknall wrote: "RIP Robin Gibb. A musical giant,"
There were also tributes from X Factor judge Dannii Minogue and rock band Duran Duran.