Robin Gibb, Bee Gees Singer and Songwriter, Dead at 62, Loses Battle With Cancer

Categories: Obituaries
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Robin Gibb, one of the co-founding brothers of British pop band Bee Gees and the voice behind disco megahit "Stayin' Alive," died yesterday in London after a two-year battle with cancer, according to his official website. He was 62.

"Sunday 20 May, 2012 at 10:46 pm: The family of Robin Gibb, of the Bee Gees, announce with great sadness that Robin has passed away today following his long battle with cancer and intestinal surgery," said Gibb's website.

Gibb, who co-founded the Bee Gees with his brothers Maurice and Barry, was diagnosed with colon cancer that soon spread to his liver following emergency surgery for a twisted intestine in 2010--the same condition that killed his fraternal twin brother Maurice at Mount Sinai Hospital in Miami Beach in 2003 at the age of 53.

In March, Gibb was in remission from cancer. But he relapsed in mid-April, falling into a coma and battling pneumonia. Then in late April, it was announced he had advanced colorectal cancer.

Gibb is the second disco-era star to die this week following the death of Donna Summer, who succumbed to lung cancer three days ago.

Robin Gibb was born on the Isle of Man in 1949, only minutes apart from his brother Maurice. The three brothers -- Robin, Maurice, and Barry -- and family moved to Manchester, then to the town of Redcliffe in Queensland, Australia, in 1958, where they began their musical career as a trio singing harmonies under the name The Rattlesnakes and then Wee Johnny Hayes & the Bluecats.

They recorded a few hits with record label Festival Records starting in 1963 under the name of Bee Gees before landing a nominally successful hit called "Wine and Women" in 1965, which led to recording their first LP, The Bee Gees Sing and Play 14 Barry Gibb Songs.

Their single 12th single, "Spicks and Specks", released in September 1966, topped the charts in Australia and ended up being the first Bee Gees single released in England one month later. The group achieved international fame with this single and signed a deal with British label Polydor Records, moving back to England the following January, where Australian producer Robert Stigwood began promoting them, touting the group as the next Beatles.

Robin Gibb sang lead with his fragile vibrato voice during the group's initial success in the 1960s before being replaced by brother Barry as the frontman with his high-pitched falsetto voice, causing GIbb to leave the group and begin a successful solo career in 1969.

Gibb reunited with Barry and Maurice in 1971 while continuing to promote his solo career, which includes six recorded albums, several singles and a 1984 Billboard Top 40 hit, "Boys Do Fall in Love."

The Bee Gees career began to slump in 1973. But it picked up two years later when they recorded their first disco hit "Jive Talkin'" and then became bigger stars than ever before in 1977 after recording songs for the Saturday Night Fever movie soundtrack. Mostly notable were "Stayin' Alive" and "Night Fever," hits that still bring crowds to the dance floors today.

In 1994, Gibb was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles. In 1997, the Bee Gees were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio. The group has sold over 200 million records worldwide.

The group split again in 2003 following the death of Maurice. Younger brother Andy died in 1988 at the age of 30.

One of Gibb's last projects was writing the score of The Titanic Requiem with his son Robin-John, which was recorded by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic.

"I regard a lot of the work with my brothers as masterpieces. But next to the Bomber Command Memorial monument which I see as a personal landmark, and my career with Barry and Maurice, I do think the Titanic Requiem is one of my greatest achievements," Gibb said in an interview last March with Anne Grootjans.

Gibb is survived by his wife, Dwina; his daughter, Melissa; and his two sons, Spencer and Robin-John.

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