Britain’s former PM Tony Blair pays tribute to the Bee Gees star Robin Gibb after succumbing to cancer.
Blair, a longtime friend of Gibb, described the singer that had a ‘wonderful open and fertile mind’ and extended his condolences to Gibb’s widow, Dwina, and their family.
“Robin was not only an exceptional and extraordinary musician and songwriter, he was a highly intelligent, interested and committed human being,” Blair said.
The multi-talented singer, who wrote and arranged numerous hits for other major artists, among them include ‘Islands in the Stream’ by Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers, u
Heartbreaker’ by Dionne Warwick and ‘Woman in Love’ by Barbra Streisand.
Gibb was also recognized for his work on behalf of British veterans and his interests in politics, history and the Titanic.
He did find the time and energy to compose ‘The Titanic Requiem’ with the help of his son, RJ. But the 62 year old star lapsed into a coma and was too sick to attend the gala premiere with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra last month.
Ringo Starr, a former member of the Beatles, whose band competed against the Bee Gees for top chart spots in the 1960s, praised Gibb’s musical legacy.
“The Bee Gees from our era were quite important, especially the harmonies,” Starr said Monday. “He had a great voice and they wrote great songs.”
Gibb also served for four years as president of the Heritage Foundation, a group that promotes British culture, backing a number of projects.
Heritage Foundation Chairman David Graham said Monday that Gibb was the natural choice for the job.
“He was so enthusiastic about the whole thing,” Graham said. “He loved history, and he was a lovely fellow. We’re going to miss him so much. He was always interested in the good of others.”
Broadcaster Paul Gambaccini described the singer as “one of the major figures in the history of British music”.
Former BBC Radio 1 DJ Mike Read described his death as a ‘tragedy’. Read, who was a family friend of Gibb, said, “He had a gift for melody and a gift for lyrics and left a phenomenal legacy, a phenomenal catalog.”
Last month the singer fell into a coma after contracting pneumonia. Four weeks ago, he regained consciousness and was said to have been making a positive recovery.
But his death was indeed tragedy when it was announced at 23:30 BST (22:30 GMT) on Sunday.