French Elvis’ – Dies Aged 74 After A Battle Against Lung Cancer

The singer’s wife Laeticia Hallyday confirmed the news in an emotional statement, in which she paid tribute to his ‘courage and dignity’.

‘Johnny Hallyday has left us. I write these words without believing them,’ she said.

‘But yet, it’s true. My man is no longer with us. He left us tonight as he lived his whole life, with courage and dignity.’

Celine Dion was among those who took to social media to pay their respects as news of his death broke.

‘It is an honour to have known you and to have spent time with your beautiful family. Your soul is pure rock n’ roll. Repose en paix.’

French President Emmanuel Macron joined those paying respects as he said that Johnny ‘brought a part of America into our national pantheon’.

The singer – whose real name was Jean-Philippe Smet – was diagnosed with lung cancer in March – having previously faced a health battle in 2009 when he was admitted to hospital due to complications following a hernia operation and was put into an artificial coma.

Johnny lived in London during part of his youth and became friends with stars including Sir Mick Jagger and Rod Stewart over the years.

Johnny and Bulgarian-French singer Sylvie Vartan were considered a ‘golden couple’ during their marriage which lasted from 1965-1980, but after they split he tied the knot with Elisabeth Etienne in 1981 – with that marriage lasting just two months and two days.

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