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Wednesday, May 23, 2012


Fighting back: Robin seen just last February with Saturday Night Fever star John Travolta at the 46th Golden Camera Awards in Berlin
46th Golden Camera Award, Berlin

In the wake of Robin Gibb's death friends, family and fans have paid tribute to the late star.

And now John Travolta has said the Bee Gees star, who passed away yesterday, was 'one of the most wonderful people'.

In a statement from the actor's publicist sent to MailOnline, Travolta 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.'

Robin, along with his brothers Barry and Maurice, penned the soundtrack to the 1977 film Saturday Night Fever.

The film propelled Travolta to stardom and the pair became friends.

Just last February Robin and John shared a joke together at the 46th Golden Camera Awards in Berlin.
The actor is currently embroiled in a series of sexual assault allegations.

Sir Cliff Richard also paid tribute to the star and said the singer's legacy of songs with the group, was 'stunningly good'.
Long battle: Robin passed away yesterday at the age of 62 following a long battle with cancer. Sir Cliff Richards said he was 'gone to soon' while at the Chelsea Flower Show today
He told the BBC: '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.'

Robin, who sold more than 200 million records and notched up dozens of hits with brothers Maurice and Barry, had undergone intestinal surgery and fought a long battle with cancer.

'The family of Robin Gibb, of the Bee Gees, announce with great sadness that Robin passed away today following his long battle with cancer and intestinal surgery. The family have asked that their privacy is respected at this very difficult time,' family spokesman Doug Wright said.

Broadcaster Paul Gambaccini said the performer and songwriter was 'talented beyond even his own understanding' and dubbed him as 'one of the important figures in the history of British music'.

Stars including rocker Bryan Adams and singer songwriter Mick Hucknall also paid emotional tributes.
The father-of-three had been suffering from colon and liver cancer.

Fears for the star’s health were first raised last year when he appeared looking gaunt on a TV show to promote his single for Poppy Day.

Gone but not forgotten: Robin leaves behind his eldest brother Barry as the only remaining member of the band. Maurice Gibb passed away in 2003

But Mr Gibb tried to allay any rumours about his health after admitting he had cancer – but claiming he had beaten it, saying doctors had told him: ‘It’s gone, they’ve told me they can’t see it no more, I’ve done it.’

Gone but not forgotten: Robin leaves behind his wife Dwina
With Dwina Murphy-Gibb, his wife
Following a relapse last month, his wife Dwina, 59, spoke of her joy after the singer woke from a 12-day coma despite being given just a 10 per cent chance of survival by doctors.

She had been told to start making plans for the musician’s passing as he slumped into a coma after contracting pneumonia.

But Mr Gibb defied the odds and regained consciousness as music from his Titanic Requiem played.
He had been due to premiere the collaborative classical work with his 29-year-old son Robin-John in April, but the event went ahead without him due to his poor health.

Mrs Gibb and her family had held a constant bedside vigil for the star - and had been playing his favourite music to try and rouse him.

And she revealed that he cried when she played him Roy Orbison’s 1962 song Crying.

She said: ‘We played music to him for about ten days so we asked him if he wanted to listen to any more music and he said no - we’ve bombarded him with music for about 10 days. It was very interesting...’
Robin Gibb in 1969Robin-John - known as RJ - said his father had woken up when they played the music they had composed together.

He told ITV news: ‘He woke up while we were playing the track which is a movement from the [Titanic] Requiem we have just written.

‘He is completely compos mentis now and the first thing he said to me was ‘Hi RJ, can you tell them my back hurts?’ so we got a nurse to turn him. We said we loved each other.

‘Two days before that they said they’d thrown the kitchen sink at him, that it was time to make plans because he was in God’s hands and such, but he beats the odds again and they gave him an under 10 per cent survival chance and he has beaten the odds...he really is something else.’

Mrs Gibb said her husband was being ‘very naughty’, as she revealed: ‘He is fantastic at the moment. He is laughing, he is joking, he is really happy. He just wants to get out.

‘He has been very naughty because he pulled his feeding tube out so the nurses will have to put it back in again but he wants ice cream...he wants all kinds of things. It’s good anyway.’

1983: Robin Gibb with Dwina and their son Robin-John, known as RJ, with whom he went on to write the Titanic Requiem
1983: with Dwina and their son Robin-John (RJ)

Mr Gibb had surgery on his bowel 19 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.

It had been thought his cancer was in remission as early as last month, but the latest deterioration in his health coincides with reports of a secondary tumour.

Mr Gibb’s twin brother and bandmate Maurice died from the same bowel condition that initially led doctors to operate on him.

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.

Dr Andrew Thillainayagam, the multi-millionare’s private physician, revealed how had tried to prepare the Gibb family for the very worst, adding ‘the prognosis was very grave... I warned Robin’s wife, Dwina, son, Robin John and brother, Barry, that I feared the worst.’

Honoured: In 2004 Robin was presented with a CBE with his brother Barry
2004: Robin and Barry were presented with a CBE
He added: ‘As a team, we were all concerned that we might be approaching the realms of futility. It is testament to Robin’s extraordinary courage, iron will and deep reserves of physical strength.’

Mr Gibb was married twice, to Molly Hullis, a secretary in the organisation of impresario Robert Stigwood, from 1968 to 1980, then to Dwina Murphy-Gibb, an author and artist. He had two children, Spencer and Melissa, from his first marriage, and a son, Robin-John, from his second.

He famously had an ‘accepting’ marriage with Dwina, which survived the star fathering a daughter with their housekeeper, Claire Yang.

Miss Yang, 36, and Snow Robin, four, now live in Oxfordshire, five miles from the converted monastery where the Gibbs and their 28-year-old son Robin-John resided.

The Bee Gees will be forever known for providing the soundtrack to the 1970s in the form of the Saturday Night Fever album, one of the biggest-selling albums of all time.

Posing with toothy smiles, bouffant hair and tight white outfits on the album's cover, they captured the look of an era.

And with their falsetto close harmonies hitched to a new dancefloor-friendly sound, the trio's career was propelled to new heights.

The new-found reputation of the Bee Gees was far removed from their beginnings as a young trio performing in theatres in Manchester in the mid-1950s.

Mr Gibb and his twin Maurice were born on the Isle of Man to English parents on December 22, 1949, three years after their brother Barry.

The trio started out as a child act encouraged by their father Hugh, a band leader, and their mother Barbara, a former singer, who is still alive.

Hitmakers: Robin was part of one of the biggest groups of all time the Bee Gees with his brother Maurice, who passed away in 2003 and Barry who is now the only surviving member of the band

They continued performing when the family moved to Brisbane, Australia, in 1958.

They took the name Bee Gees, an abbreviation of Brothers Gibb, signed to the Australian label Festival Records and released a series of singles written by Barry while in their teenage years.

After finding worldwide success, Mr Gibb admitted earlier this year, in one of his last interviews, that he felt his illness was 'karma' for his fame.

'I sometimes wonder if the tragedies my family has suffered are a karmic price for all the fame and fortune the Bee Gees have had.'

Robin Gibb in 1981
The star was struck down with colon cancer, which spread to his liver, in 2010.

He first felt the illness while on stage in Belgium in August that year, and later had an emergency operation for a blocked intestine.

The procedure sparked memories of the deaths of his twin brother Maurice, 53, who died of complications from a twisted intestine in 2003.

Their younger brother Andy also died young. He was just 30 when he died of myocarditis caused by a viral infection.

After his successful surgery doctors advised him to have a scan, but the singer waited eight months before going ahead, afraid of what he would be told.

He admitted: 'Of course I was scared, like most people in my situation would be.

'I just didn't want to be told any bad news.'

When wife Dwina and son RJ eventually convinced him to have the scan, doctors found he had bowel cancer which had spread to his liver.

He said: 'I didn't cry, I just went into shock. I lost my appetite. I didn't want to eat, and I certainly couldn't sleep. I'd been in denial for so long.'

He was put on a course of chemotherapy, while Dwina - a druid priestess - also gave him health foods and herb teas in a bid to fight the disease.

He explained: 'The illness and the untimely death of my brothers made me conscious of the fact that - rather than just think about it - it's crucial that you do today what you want to do.

'Now I know how precious time is and you can't put it in the bank.

'I intend to make the most of every single second that I've got left.'


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