Robin Gibb, a performer who enjoyed decades of success as part of all-brother singing trio the Bee Gees, has died aged 62 after a battle against cancer.
“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,” his family said in a statement on Sunday.
Gibb and his brothers, Barry and Maurice, formed one of the most successful vocal groups in rock and roll history,
selling more than 200 million albums in a career which began in the 1960s but peaked with the success of a string of hits from the movie soundtrack to the era-defining “Saturday Night Fever” in the late 1970s.
Their most famous songs included “How Deep Is Your Love”, “Stayin’ Alive”, and “Night Fever” and in 1977, the year the movie was released, they became the first and only songwriters to place five songs in the US top 10 bestselling singles at the same time.
The Bee Gees, famed for their falsetto harmonies, also gained recognition for their body of work with induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
The Gibbs were born in England on the Isle of Man, an island in the Irish Sea, but moved to Australia with their parents in 1958 when they were still quite young and began their musical career there.
After several hits in Australia, their career started to really take off when they returned to England in 1967. Robin temporarily left the group in 1969. He released some successful solo material before rejoining his brothers in 1970.
The Gibbs then suffered some slack years, and were at a low point when they went into a French studio to try to come up with some songs for the “Saturday Night Fever” soundtrack which, together with the power of the disco movement, changed their lives forever, giving them a string of number one hits.
After several years of chart success, the Gibbs spent much of the 1980s writing songs and producing records for other artists, working closely with top talents such as Barbra Streisand, Dionne Warwick, Diana Ross and Dolly Parton. They also continued touring and releasing their own records.
The band continued to perform in the 1990s, until the death of Maurice, Robin’s twin, in 2003, from a cardiac arrest during surgery. Following his death, Robin and Barry decided to cease performing as the Bee Gees.
Robin Gibb underwent bowel surgery 18 months ago for an unrelated condition but a tumour was found and he was diagnosed with cancer of the colon and the liver.
In February, he said he had made a “spectacular” recovery from his treatment, sparking hopes that his cancer was in remission, but he recently experienced a sharp deterioration and contracted pneumonia.
Hundreds of tributes poured on to the Twitter micro-blogging site, including from record labels and fellow musicians.
“Robin Gibb RIP,” wrote Canadian rocker Bryan Adams. “Very sad to hear about yet another great singer dying too young.”
“Another huge loss for the Disco Music…RIP Robin Gibb”, wrote Madonna.
Another influential disco act, Donna Summer, died on Thursday aged 63.
Gibb is survived by his second wife, Dwina, and four children, as well as his older brother, fellow Bee Gee Barry Gibb, and his sister Lesley Evans, who lives in Australia.