Entertainment & Arts

Robin Gibb: Music stars pay tribute to Bee Gees singer

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Media captionSinger Cliff Richard, a friend of Robin Gibb, said it was a sad day

Stars of the music industry have been paying tribute to Bee Gees singer Robin Gibb, who has died at the age of 62.

Sir Cliff Richard said the singer's legacy of songs with the group, including Tragedy and Jive Talkin' was "stunningly good".

Lyricist Sir Tim Rice said Gibb, who had cancer, was "a charming man".

"I saw him only a couple of weeks ago," he said. "He wasn't at all well but was putting up a marvellous fight. It's a terrible loss for the music industry."

Robin Gibb formed the Bee Gees with brothers Barry and Maurice. They were among the most successful pop groups and songwriting teams of all time, with hits spanning five decades.

Image caption Robin Gibb performing at the BBC Electric Proms in 2008

They scored nine US number one singles and five chart-toppers in the UK.

Sir Cliff said: "We are a fraternity of people who sing pop and rock and Robin is another one of us who's gone too soon, too early.

"So the legacy will be what the Bee Gees did, which was stunning, stunningly good stuff - right on a par with the Beatles."

Former Beatle Ringo Starr told the BBC: "Robin will be remembered as a musician and as a singer and part of The Bee Gees. The legacy they'll leave behind is Stayin' Alive, the harmonies and the songs that they've written."

Singer Dionne Warwick, whose biggest hit Heartbreaker was written by the Gibb brothers, said of Robin: "He was wonderful. He was a jokester.

"He had an incredibly witty sense of humour and was fun to be around. All three of them were sensational gentlemen first, just fun loving guys."

She touched upon the family members' close bond, adding: "I think what was most attractive to me was how grounded they were.

"I think a lot of it has to do with their sense of family and being together as a family. That is very important, to be connected. They loved each other very strongly and showed it, and it was a joy."

The trio also penned Islands In The Stream for Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton, a hit which featured on Rogers' 1983 album Eyes That See In The Dark.

"Robin was a part of something unique," said Rogers in a statement. "The sound of the Bee Gees was so specific and dominating, especially in the 70s - unlike anything that had ever happened before or will ever happen again.

"Mostly, Robin was a good guy who didn't deserve to die this young. We will all miss him for what he was as a person and what he brought to music."

John Travolta, who danced to the Bee Gees' distinctive soundtrack in the 1977 film Saturday Night Fever, also paid tribute to Gibb on Monday.

He said: "I thought Robin was one of the most wonderful people - gifted, generous and a real friend to everyone he knew. And we'll miss him."

The announcement of Robin Gibbs' death was made by his family on Sunday with "great sadness".

Broadcaster Paul Gambaccini described the singer as "one of the major figures in the history of British music".

"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," he said.

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Media captionRingo Starr on 'cool' Robin Gibb

Robin Gibb had "one of the best white soul voices ever", Gambaccini said, adding that the group's accomplishments had 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... the list goes on and on."

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Bryan Adams, Duran Duran and Justin Timberlake are among a host of musicians that took to Twitter to pay their respects.

Gibb had battled ill health for several years.

In 2010, he cancelled a series of shows after suffering severe stomach pains while performing in Belgium. He went on to have emergency surgery for a blocked intestine.

His twin brother and band partner Maurice died in 2003 aged 53 following complications from a twisted intestine.

Robin Gibb cancelled a series of shows in Brazil in April 2011, after again suffering from abdominal pains.

Later that year, he was found to have cancer of the colon after having surgery on his bowel for an unrelated condition.

He was later also diagnosed with cancer of the liver, and underwent chemotherapy and surgery.

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 announced at 23:30 BST (22:30 GMT) on Sunday.

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