PARIS – The Latest on the death of rock icon Johnny Hallyday (all times local):
A senior European Union official has lauded Johnny Hallyday as a cultural bridge between European and American culture, and says the French rocker beguiled young and old alike.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said upon hearing about Hallyday’s death that “he was not only an idol of the young.”
Putting a Gallic twist on raw U.S. rock ‘n’ roll, Juncker said that Hallyday “reconciled French chanson with American music.”
And he said that by continuing to perform as disease was weakening him, “he taught us a beautiful lesson in courage.”
Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel woke up to the bad news that Johnny Hallyday had died, and says “we all have a song of (his) that comes immediately to mind.”
Since Hallyday’s father was Belgian, there always has been a special place for the French rocker in neighbouring Belgium.
Michel has tweeted that “a great artist has left us, transcending generations. His work is in our memories and will always stay with us.”
Belgian radio stations played his songs during the morning rush hour, and the news immediately hit the top of the country’s main news sites. In the Brussels subway system, his top hits were played over intercoms in a special tribute as many thousands milled about to get to work.
The woman credited with launching the career of Johnny Hallyday, the French rock star who has died, says that she knew that he was special but never thought he would become a national icon.
Line Renaud, a singer and national figure in her own right, said after the announcement of his death early Tuesday that “with Johnny, it was a revolution.”
She told TV Channel CNews by phone that “I never realized the immensity of his career because this type of career didn’t exist here.”
Renaud, referred to as Johnny’s “godmother,” said she last saw him at a dinner she gave with guests that included the Macrons, but didn’t specify if Emmanuel Macron was already president. Photos on Twitter show Macron and wife Brigitte with the two, dated last year, before his election.
Police have installed barricades outside the home of French rock icon Johnny Hallyday as fans gathered to mourn his death.
Police vans arrived before dawn Wednesday at the home in the Paris suburb of Marnes-la-Coquette, near Versailles.
Fans came soon after, bundled against the December cold to pay tribute and share memories of France’s biggest rock star.
Tributes poured in from the French president’s office to North America after the overnight news of his death. Hallyday, often dubbed the French Elvis, died after battling lung cancer.
Johnny Hallyday, France’s biggest rock star for more than half a century and an icon who packed sports stadiums and all but lit up the Eiffel Tower with his pumping pelvis and high-voltage tunes, has died. He was 74.
President Emmanuel Macron announced his death in a statement early Wednesday, saying “he brought a part of America into our national pantheon.” Macron’s office said the president spoke with Hallyday’s family but did not provide details about where the rocker died or the circumstances.
Hallyday had had lung cancer and repeated health scares in recent years that dominated national news, yet he continued performing as recently as this summer.