French rock star Johnny Hallyday dies aged 74

25 2003 shows French singer Johnny Hallyday performing in Saint-Denis-de-la-Réunion France's best-known rock star Johnny Hallyday has died aged 74 after a battle with lung cancer

BREAKING NEWS: Singer Johnny Hallyday - best known as the 'French Elvis' - dies aged 74 after fighting lung cancer

French singer Johnny Hallyday died after a battle with cancer.

Hallyday became the first Gallic singer to popularize rock "n" roll in France, and sold over 110 million records during a music career spanning over half a century.

"I write these words without believing them".

"We all have something of Johnny Hallyday in us", Macron said.

Worldwide songstress and Billboard Icon Award-winning artist Celine Dion took to Twitter to pay homage to the late singer.

The biggest highlight of his career came in the year 2001 when he performed at the Eiffel Tower and attracted more than 600,000 people.

Despite his huge success in France and French-speaking countries, Hallyday never managed to break America or other big English-speaking markets and was often tagged with the slightly unfair phrase "the biggest rock star you've never heard of".

Johnny Hallyday rock icon known as French Elvis passes away at 74

In response to his death, French President Emmanuel Macron said "There is something of Johnny in all of us".

At the beginning of 1960 Hallyday released his first album, "Hello!" He even gave the Jimi Hendrix Experience their very first gig as his opening act at the Paris Olympia in October 1966. After his parents split up, the youngster followed his father's sisters to London, where he met American singer Lee Ketchman. He also appeared in numerous films.

He spent his early years on the road with his cousins Desta and Menen and their acrobatic dance troupe, and eventually took to the stage himself at the age of 12, singing country songs dressed as a child Davy Crockett.

The rocker "lived his entire life wholly for his fans, who loved him and idolised him", she added. He also topped the French charts more than 30 times.

His fifth and longest marriage to the 21-year-old Laeticia Boudou in 1996, with whom he adopted two daughters, Joy and Jade, marked the start of a calmer, more stable phase in his personal life.

In 2009, Hallyday was temporarily put into a medically induced coma after a botched medical operation.

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