Eduard Khil, known as 'Mr Trololo,' dies aged 77
MOSCOW - Agence France-Presse
In this April 24, 2010 file photo, Russian singer Eduard Khil, known as "Mr. Trololo", performs during his concert in Moscow. Soviet crooner Khil , who gained international stardom in 2010 when his 1976 video of a vocalized song known as Trololo became a global Internet hit, died in St. Petersburg Sunday, June 3, 2012. (AP Photo/Sergey Ponomarev, File)Eduard Khil, a Russian crooner who had an unexpected career revival in his later years with an Internet hit nicknamed "the Trololo song," died on Monday at the age of 77, Russian television said.
The award-winning baritone singer launched his career in the 1960s with patriotic songs including "Where does the motherland begin?" which is a favourite of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
But in 2010 he gained international fame when bloggers unexpectedly picked up a video where Khil, dressed in a brown double-breasted suit, enthusiastically showed off his range in a wordless song.
The video went viral, swiftly gaining millions of views on YouTube. It was parodied on US television shows including the animated sitcom "Family Guy".
Khil, who was renamed "Mr Trololo", told Radio Liberty he found out about his newfound fame from his 13-year-old grandson, and said he was enjoying all the attention.
He went on to post a video on YouTube himself calling for people to come up with their own lyrics for the song.
"Thank you for getting such a kick of energy and optimism from listening to this great melody," he said in the video.
Khil was already a household name at home, where he was awarded the title of People's Artist of Russia in 1974, performing songs by some of the Soviet Union's top composers.
After the breakup of the Soviet Union, he struggled to survive on concert earnings in Russia and began to perform abroad to emigre audiences, taking on a regular spot at Parisian cabaret Raspoutine.
Khil, who was born in the western Russian city of Smolensk, died in hospital in Saint Petersburg after suffering a stroke in April, Russian television reported. Putin sent his condolences to the singer's family, his press secretary Dmitry Peskov told Russian news agencies