Bee Gees singer Robin Gibb dies after long battle with cancer

Robin Gibb has died after a lengthy battle with cancer. Picture: AP
Robin Gibb has died after a lengthy battle with cancer. Picture: AP
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BEE Gees singer Robin Gibb died last night at the age of 62 after a long battle with cancer, his family announced.

The performer, originally from the Isle of Man, was a third of one of the most successful groups of past decades, with a string of number one hits.

In a statement, Gibb’s family said they were announcing his death with “great sadness”.

Gibb, who had undergone intestinal surgery, notched up dozens of hits with brothers Maurice and Barry – as performers and writers – and sold more than 200 million records.

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 Gibb’s progress after he was given a 10 per cent 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 he had cried when she played him the song Crying by Roy Orbison.

In a statement, the 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.”

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.

His younger brother Andy, who was not part of the Bee Gees but a successful singer in his own right, died in 1988 from heart failure at 30.

Robin’s twin brother, Maurice, died of a heart attack in 2003 following intestinal surgery.

Robin-John, 29, had been due to premiere a collaborative classical work, The Titanic Requiem, with his father in April, but the event went ahead without Gibb due to his poor health.

The Bee Gees’ song catalogue, which includes Massachusetts, I’ve Gotta Get A Message To You, Lonely Days, How Can You Mend A Broken Heart, How Deep Is Your Love and Stayin’ Alive, led to their induction into both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Robin was made a CBE in 2002.

Broadcaster Paul Gambaccini said Gibb was “talented beyond even his own understanding”.

He said: “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 No 1 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.

“Robin had one of the best white soul voices ever. He was singing lead on his first No 1 when he was 17; that was Massachusetts.”

A statement from Sony Music on Twitter said: “Rest in peace, Robin Gibb. Thanks for the music.”

Former deputy prime minister John Prescott also paid tribute on the social networking site, saying: “A good friend, a brilliant musician and a man who turned all of us into wannabe Travoltas!”