Famous Turkish musician İlhan İrem dies at 67
Prominent Turkish musician and songwriter İlhan İrem, who had been receiving dialysis treatment with the diagnosis of kidney failure, has died at the age of 67, with thousands publishing letters of condolence, including politicians.
İrem got worse due to kidney disease and was taken to intensive care in the past months, reportedly.
“He had three wills. He wanted his coffin to be wrapped in a Turkish flag, a ceremony to be held at Atatürk Cultural Center and to be buried in the Aşiyan Cemetery,” said Hansu İrem, the wife of the late musician.
It is being planned to hold the ceremony on July 30, said Hansu İrem, adding that the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality has started to work to fulfill the will.
“We had been very close since the day he started his professional life, our relationship was unique. Words are not enough to describe his perspective on life, the greatness of his heart, and the feelings that his songs express without limits,” said famous pop singer Yeliz speaking to the NTV broadcaster.
A whole era has ended, half of the encyclopedia is gone, Yeliz said, adding that young people who don’t know İrem or people who only know his songs should read his books.
“He was a person who did not stray from his own path and did not make concessions to anyone. The hall of 5,000 people used to sing his songs by heart as the words written tenderly impressed people,” said Fuat Güner, a member of well-known Turkish pop-rock band MFÖ.
When you lose a dear friend, you find yourself in an endless feeling of loneliness, said renowned pop singer Nükhet Duru.
“Words are not enough to express my sadness. My dear friend, rest in peace while your immortal music, which makes us happy, sad, emotional and comforted, continues to be with us,” Duru added.
İrem was one of the unforgettable voices of our music, Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy said.
“He left behind his soft voice, sincere chanting and naive heart. I wish God’s mercy to İlhan İrem, patience to his family and my condolences to all of us,” said presidential spokesperson İbrahim Kalın.
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of a valuable artist, who left a deep impression with his songs. I wish Allah’s mercy to him,” the Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) spokesperson Ömer Çelik said.
“I am deeply saddened by the death of İlhan İrem, one of the unforgettable names of Turkish music,” said Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the leader of the Republican People’s Party (CHP). “I wish Allah’s mercy to the legendary musician and songwriter, and my condolences to his family, fans and the art community.”
Born on April 1, 1955, in the northwestern province of Bursa, İrem took her first step into music by becoming the vocalist of the secondary school orchestra in 1969.
The second song he made after starting his professional music career, Yazık Oldu Yarınlara – Haydi Sil Gözlerini, suddenly brought the young artist to a very popular position, which became stronger by his third song, Anlasana, released in 1975.
Most of the songs from his first LP, released in 1976, such as Üzülme Dostum, Havalar Nasıl, Ayrılık Akşamı, Sensiz de Yaşanıyor, Bal Ağızlım topped the charts, while the song Kuklacı Amca, in which he questioned the God, was recalled from the market by the record company.
İrem, who took a new path in his music life with his symphonic LP, Sevgiliye, released in 1979, composed and sang Hoşgeldin, a Nazım Hikmet poem.
In the following period, as a rebellion against the “insensitivity in the society and art environment,” he decided to be isolated completely from popular culture and took a break from his concerts between 1992-2006.
The disappearance, which İrem defines as the corridor opening to light and new dimensions, is the period in which he continued his album works uninterruptedly and intensified his book and literary studies.
However, he became much more popular in this period as his music took a philosophical turn.
After his performance at Istanbul’s Gülhane Park in 1992, the artist did not play publicly anywhere for 14 years before a concert on Sept. 29, 2006, in Istanbul. He gave another concert the same year in the capital Ankara and another show in Oct. 9, 2010, in the Aegean province of İzmir.
As a veteran, the artist returned to the stage after a two-year hiatus at Istanbul’s Turkcell Kuruçeşme Arena on Sept. 22, 2012 for a concert, marking the 39th anniversary of his career in music.
His shows, each with different concepts, are known for their mystical atmosphere.
İrem, who has released 24 albums and won seven golden record awards as well as many other accolades, is considered one of the greatest figures in Turkish music history.