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French singer Johnny Hallyday dies at 74 after battle with cancer
06 December 2017, 06:37 | Myron Mathis
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France's best-known rock star Johnny Hallyday has died aged 74 after a battle with lung cancer, his wife Laeticia told AFP on 6 December.
French rock and roll singer Johnny Hallyday gets down on his knees during a concert.
Known as "France's Elvis", the singer - who found his musical inspiration in Chuck Berry and Buddy Holly - sold more than 100 million albums and headlined 50 major tours.
While he was never taken seriously overseas, Hallyday broke from France's classic "chanson" tradition in the late 1950s, selling more than 100 million albums and headlining 50 major tours.
He drove his young fans wild, attracting 100,000 to a Paris square in 1963 and prompting scenes of hysteria that had been unseen until then in a conservative France led by the stiff Gen. Charles de Gaulle.
Hallyday's covers instantly proved a successful way for American rock "n" roll to infiltrate its way into France.
He performed alongside both Jimi Hendrix and Bob Dylan, but failed to achieve his dream of making it big in America.
He attempted suicide in 1966 and collapsed on stage in 1986.
Hallyday said that his father's departure haunted his life.
Hallyday is also survived by two other children, Dave, a singer fathered with Vartan, and Laura Smet, whom he had with noted French actress Nathalie Baye.
More recently, Hallyday appeared in Johnnie To's "Vengeance" (2009) and had talked about giving film a bigger role in his life. "I think this vision of me belongs to the past". He began to call himself Johnny Halliday when he sang. In 1997, Hallyday was made a Chevalier of the Legion D'Honneur.
Star: Johnny Hallyday is seen in this picture from September. The performer left France for tax reasons and spent much of his later life in Los Angeles. Yet his stardom largely ended at the French-speaking world. "I'm just a simple man", he said in a 2006 interview on France 3.
"My worldwide career? It'll happen if it happens", Hallyday once said in an interview.
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