Gibb had surgery on his bowel 18 months ago for an unrelated condition but a tumour was discovered and he was diagnosed with cancer of the colon and subsequently of the liver. He fell into a coma last month after contracting pneumonia and was given a 10 per cent chance of survival but astounded loved-ones with his recovery, “beating the odds" just days after doctors said he "was in God's hand". Tragically, he lost the fight last night. Gibb's death, announced by his family, prompted an outpouring of grief from fans and fellow members of the music industry.
Gibb sold more than 200 million records and notched up dozens of hits with brothers Maurice and Barry during a career spanning more than half a century. The trio's blend of trademark falsetto close harmonies helped turn disco into a global phenomenon, with hits including Stayin’ Alive and Night Fever, which featured on the soundtrack of the 1977 film Saturday Night Fever, starring John Travolta.
Robin Gibb's family released the following statement:
"The family of Robin Gibb, of the Bee Gees, announce with great sadness that Robin passed away following his long battle with cancer and intestinal surgery. The family have asked that their privacy is respected at this very difficult time."
Broadcaster Paul Gambaccini described the musician as "talented beyond even his own understanding" and "one of the important figures in the history of British music", while stars including Bryan Adams and Mick Hucknall also paid emotional tributes, with Adams posting on his twitter page, "Robin Gibb RIP. Very sad to hear about yet another great singer dying too young."
Gambaccini also said:
"Everyone should be aware that the Bee Gees are second only to Lenon and McCartney as the most successful songwriting unit in British popular music. Their accomplishments have 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, Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers, the list goes on and on. What must also be said is Robin had one of the best white soul voices ever."
The Bee Gees' hits catalogue, which also includes Massachusetts, I've Gotta Get A Message To You, Lonely Days, How Can You Mend A Broken Heart and How Deep Is Your Love, led to their induction into both the Rock And Roll and Songwriters Halls Of Fame.
This sad news comes after Gibb's twin brother, Maurice, died of a heart attack in 2003 following intestinal surgery, while his younger brother Andy, who was not part of the Bee Gees but a successful singer in his own right, died in 1988 from heart failure at 30.