Bee Gees singer Robin Gibb dies aged 62 after long battle with cancer
Singer recently had intestinal surgeryHad a long battle with cancer and was in a 12-day coma last monthFamily comforted him with music during constant bedside vigil
Stars and friends of the singer pay tribute to him on Twitter
09:16 GMT, 21 May 2012
Robin Gibb has died aged 62
Friends, family and fellow musicians have been paying tribute to Bee Gees singer Robin Gibb, who died yesterday aged 62.
The singer, who sold more than 200 million records and notched up dozens of hits with brothers Maurice and Barry, had undergone intestinal surgery and fought a long battle with 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. The family have asked that their privacy is respected at this very difficult time,' family spokesman Doug Wright said.
Broadcaster Paul Gambaccini said the performer and songwriter was 'talented beyond even his own understanding' and dubbed him as 'one of the important figures in the history of British music'.
Stars including rocker Bryan Adams and singer songwriter Mick Hucknall also paid emotional tributes.
The father-of-three had been suffering from colon and liver cancer.
Fears for the star’s health were first raised last year when he appeared looking gaunt on a TV show to promote his single for Poppy Day.
But Mr Gibb tried to allay any rumours about his health after admitting he had cancer – but claiming he had beaten it, saying doctors had told him: ‘It’s gone, they’ve told me they can’t see it no more, I’ve done it.’
Following a relapse last month, his wife Dwina, 59, spoke of her joy after the singer woke from a 12-day coma despite being given just a 10 per cent chance of survival by doctors.
She had been told to start making plans for the musician’s passing as he slumped into a coma after contracting pneumonia.
But Mr Gibb defied the odds and regained consciousness as music from his Titanic Requiem played.
He had been due to premiere the collaborative classical work with his 29-year-old son Robin-John in April, but the event went ahead without him due to his poor health.
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Hitmakers: Robin was part of one of the biggest groups of all time the Bee Gees with his brother Maurice, who passed away in 2003 and Barry who is now the only surviving member of the band
Gone but not forgotten: Left, Mr Gibb is seen arriving at a medical centre which specialises in cancer care in Harley Street, London, last October. Right, with his wife Dwina Murphy-Gibb
Mrs Gibb and her family had held a constant bedside vigil for the star – and had been playing his favourite music to try and rouse him.
And she revealed that he cried when she played him Roy Orbison’s 1962 song Crying.
She said: ‘We played music to him for about ten days so we asked him if he wanted to listen to any more music and he said no – we’ve bombarded him with music for about 10 days. It was very interesting…’
Robin-John – known as RJ – said his father had woken up when they played the music they had composed together.
He told ITV news: ‘He woke up while we were playing the track which is a movement from the [Titanic] Requiem we have just written.
‘He is completely compos mentis now and the first thing he said to me was ‘Hi RJ, can you tell them my back hurts’ so we got a nurse to turn him. We said we loved each other.
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Broadcaster Paul Gambaccini said Gibb was 'talented beyond even his own understanding'. He said: 'Everyone should be aware that 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 number one 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 and on.
'What must also be said is Robin had one of the best white soul voices ever. He was singing lead on his first number one when he was 17, that was Massachusetts.'
Bryan Adams tweeted: ‘Robin Gibb RIP. Very sad to hear about yet another great singer dying too young.’
Shane Filan of Westlife tweeted: ‘Just heard Robin Gibb has died .. So sad .. A musical legend ! RIP’
Former Destiny’s Child singer Michelle Williams posted: ‘RIP Robin Gibb!! #EMOTIONSTAKINGMEOVER (I’m so glad DC3 got the chance to remake that song)
Former deputy prime minister John Prescott tweeted: ‘Just heard about Robin Gibb. A good friend, a brilliant musician and a man who turned all of us into wannabe Travoltas! Rest in peace Robin.’
The Script’s official Twitter page said: ‘R.I.P. Robin Gibb. We met Robin+Barry in NY. Such a lovely guy. Prayers 2 his family. 2 many Legends being taken from us 2 early.’
Duran Duran’s official Twitter page said: ‘Sorry to hear about the passing of Robin Gibb of the BeeGees. Our condolences to his friends and family’
Simply Red singer songwriter Mick Hucknall wrote: 'RIP Robin Gibb. A musical giant,' while former X Factor judge Dannii Minogue said: 'We start believin’ now that we can be who we are – Grease is the word…RIP Robin Gibb.'
Cyclist and cancer survivor Lance Armstrong added: 'RIP Robin Gibb. Continues to sadden me to see cancer take our loved ones. Gotta put a stop to it.'
‘Two days before that they said they’d thrown the kitchen sink at him, that it was time to make plans because he was in God’s hands and such, but he beats the odds again and they gave him an under 10 per cent survival chance and he has beaten the odds…he really is something else.’
Mrs Gibb said her husband was being ‘very naughty’, as she revealed: ‘He is fantastic at the moment. He is laughing, he is joking, he is really happy. He just wants to get out.
‘He has been very naughty because he pulled his feeding tube out so the nurses will have to put it back in again but he wants ice cream…he wants all kinds of things. It’s good anyway.’
Mr Gibb had surgery on his bowel 19 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.
It had been thought his cancer was in remission as early as last month, but the latest deterioration in his health coincides with reports of a secondary tumour.
Mr Gibb’s twin brother and bandmate Maurice died from the same bowel condition that initially led doctors to operate on him.
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.
Dr Andrew Thillainayagam, the multi-millionare’s private physician, revealed how had tried to prepare the Gibb family for the very worst, adding ‘the prognosis was very grave… I warned Robin’s wife, Dwina, son, Robin John and brother, Barry, that I feared the worst.’
He added: ‘As a team, we were all concerned that we might be approaching the realms of futility. It is testament to Robin’s extraordinary courage, iron will and deep reserves of physical strength.’
Mr Gibb was married twice, to Molly Hullis, a secretary in the organisation of impresario Robert Stigwood, from 1968 to 1980, then to Dwina Murphy-Gibb, an author and artist. He had two children, Spencer and Melissa, from his first marriage, and a son, Robin-John, from his second.
He famously had an ‘accepting’ marriage with Dwina, which survived the star fathering a daughter with their housekeeper, Claire Yang.
Miss Yang, 36, and Snow Robin, four, now live in Oxfordshire, five miles from the converted monastery where the Gibbs and their 28-year-old son Robin-John resided.
The Bee Gees will be forever known for providing the soundtrack to the 1970s in the form of the Saturday Night Fever album, one of the biggest-selling albums of all time.
Posing with toothy smiles, bouffant hair and tight white outfits on the album's cover, they captured the look of an era.
And with their falsetto close harmonies hitched to a new dancefloor-friendly sound, the trio's career was propelled to new heights.
The new-found reputation of the Bee Gees was far removed from their beginnings as a young trio performing in theatres in Manchester in the mid-1950s.
Mr Gibb and his twin Maurice were born on the Isle of Man to English parents on December 22, 1949, three years after their brother Barry.
The trio started out as a child act encouraged by their father Hugh, a band leader, and their mother Barbara, a former singer, who is still alive.
Comeback: Robin Gibb on stage with brothers Maurice (left) and Barry (right) at a Bee Gees concert in Sydney in 1999
Honoured: In 2004 Robin was presented with a CBE with his brother Barry
They continued performing when the family moved to Brisbane, Australia, in 1958.
They took the name Bee Gees, an abbreviation of Brothers Gibb, signed to the Australian label Festival Records and released a series of singles written by Barry while in their teenage years.
After finding worldwide success, Mr Gibb admitted earlier this year, in one of his last interviews, that he felt his illness was 'karma' for his fame.
'I sometimes wonder if the tragedies my family has suffered are a karmic price for all the fame and fortune the Bee Gees have had.'
The star was struck down with colon cancer, which spread to his liver, in 2010.
He first felt the illness while on stage in Belgium in August that year, and later had an emergency operation for a blocked intestine.
The procedure sparked memories of the deaths of his twin brother Maurice, 53, who died of complications from a twisted intestine in 2003.
Their younger brother Andy also died young. He was just 30 when he died of myocarditis caused by a viral infection.
After his successful surgery doctors advised him to have a scan, but the singer waited eight months before going ahead, afraid of what he would be told.
Back in the day: Robin as a young musician in 1970
A life in the spotlight: Robin Gibb seen posing for a portrait in 1969 (left) and spotted at a party in 1978 (right)
Through the ages: The singer pictured in 1981 (left) and 1991 (right)
1983: Robin Gibb with Dwina and their son Robin-John, known as RJ, with whom he went on to write the Titanic Requiem
He admitted: 'Of course I was scared, like most people in my situation would be.
'I just didn't want to be told any bad news.'
When wife Dwina and son RJ eventually convinced him to have the scan, doctors found he had bowel cancer which had spread to his liver.
He said: 'I didn't cry, I just went into shock. I lost my appetite. I didn't want to eat, and I certainly couldn't sleep. I'd been in denial for so long.'
He was put on a course of chemotherapy, while Dwina – a druid priestess – also gave him health foods and herb teas in a bid to fight the disease.
He explained: 'The illness and the untimely death of my brothers made me conscious of the fact that – rather than just think about it – it's crucial that you do today what you want to do.
'Now I know how precious time is and you can't put it in the bank.
'I intend to make the most of every single second that I've got left.'