But yet, it’s true. Céline Dion saddened
Hallyday, who issued his first recording in 1959, had been preparing a new album and tour when news of his admission with respiratory difficulties at a Paris hospital was announced last month. His fifth and longest marriage to the 21-year-old Laeticia Boudou in 1996, with whom he adopted two daughters, Joy and Jade, marked the start of a calmer, more stable phase in his personal life. © Thomson Reuters, 2017 His music and wild stage antics sparked rioting and hysteria, and the leather-clad, Harley Davidson-loving rocker soon became famed for his hard living and self-destructive streak as much as for his chart-topping albums. (Zacharie Scheurer/The Associated Press)
When he was hospitalized in 2009 for a severe infection after a back operation, it also emerged that, morphine failing to do the trick, he had been plunged into an artificial coma to tackle pain he had sought for weeks to kill with larger than ever amounts of alcohol. News of his death after weeks of frenzied speculation about his health, set social networks alight with tributes from fans, politicians and celebrities. Hallyday is credited with sales of more than 100 million albums over the decades. He was a giant in show business…a true icon! My thoughts go out to his family, his loved ones, and to the millions of fans who adored him for many decades.He will be sadly missed, but never forgotten.- Céline xx…—
American newspaper USA Today once dubbed Hallyday “the greatest rock star you never heard of,” but in France he was known simply as “Johnny.”
A walking monument, he had the star power to fill the 80,000-seat Stade de France and drew a crowd of more than 750,000 when he once held a free concert near the Eiffel Tower on France’s Bastille Day national holiday. The defining moment in his career came when he saw Elvis Presley in the film Loving You, an experience that prompted him to restyle his image, adopting the hip shake that would characterize legions of rock stars on both sides of the Atlantic. Son David has followed his father into the music world, and his daughter Laura Smet, by third wife Nathalie Baye, is an actress. “I write these words without believing them. Born Jean-Philippe Léo Smet in Paris in 1943 to Huguette Clerc and Belgian-born Léon Smet, the young Johnny was raised by his aunt Hélène Mar when his parents split up. (Jacques Brinon/Associated Press)
He was something of a contradiction, as a star who forged his career recycling rock gems such as The Animals’ version of House of the Rising Sun or Jimi Hendrix’s Hey Joe in a country that has a legal limit on the amount of English music played on the radio. In 2016, French President François Hollande speaks with Hallyday at the end of a ceremony held for the victims of the Charlie Hebdo shootings, in Paris. Rioting and hysteria
As Johnny Hallyday, he released his first single, T’aimer Follement (To Love You Madly), at 16, and then set about bringing his own brand of rock to an avid French youth emerging from the austerity of the post-war era. Hallyday also starred in several movies and used his image, and steely blue eyes, to earn extra revenue from advertisements for sunglasses. “For more than 50 years, he was a vibrant icon,” President Emmanuel Macron’s office said in a statement. (Philippe Wojazer/Reuters)
Partying, drugs, alcohol and dark tobacco, the latter apparently adopted on the advice of rock icon Keith Richards, all took their toll, carving out the husky voice and craggy face that were to become his trademark. (Keystone Features/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
He had been fighting lung cancer, and also preparing yet another album recording and stage tour. Hallyday is shown wearing boxing gloves in 1967. Hallyday poses with Céline Dion before a fashion show in Paris last year. While never earning stardom in the United States, where he lived in Los Angeles in later years, he won a legion of followers in France and elsewhere in the French-speaking world. In 1965 he married pop star Sylvie Vartan, with whom he had one son, David Hallyday. “He was a giant in show business … He spent his early years on the road with his cousins Desta and Menen and their acrobatic dance troupe, and eventually took to the stage himself at the age of 12, singing country songs dressed as a child Davy Crockett. Johnny Hallyday, whose death at 74 was announced by his wife and the French president on Wednesday, was a rock ‘n’ roll giant in his native France and survived drug use, family strife and near-death episodes to strut the stage for more than fifty years.
Hallyday, with his cowboy swagger and gravelly voice, was a “French Elvis” for hundreds of millions of followers, mostly in his native country, where he sold more records than any other singer. Hallyday performs during his 50th birthday concert at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris, in 1993. “Johnny Hallyday has left us,” the singer’s wife, Laeticia, said in a statement to Agence France Presse. a true icon,” she said. Singer Céline Dion posted a Twitter message saying she was very saddened to hear of his death. “He introduced a slice of America in our national Pantheon,” said the statement from Macron’s office. I’m very sad to hear the news that Johnny Hallyday passed away. He once claimed to have been born in Oklahoma. Quick marriages
Their divorce in 1980 was quickly followed by four successive marriages, including one lasting 62 days and two to the same woman, Adeline Blondiau, whom he first wed in 1990 when she was just 19. Starred in movies
Hallyday’s 2011 album Jamais Seul went straight to number one, selling 100,000 copies in the first week, despite his reputation for being viewed by younger generations as uncool, or passé. My man is no longer with us.”
Police were posted before dawn as black cars entered the grounds of the house west of Paris to which he went after an emergency admission to hospital in late November.