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Culture

Lead singer of iconic German disco group Boney M. dies

The lead singer of the German disco group Boney M. was found dead in a Russian hotel room on Thursday. Boney M. first rose to popularity in the late 70s and early 80s.

Bobby Farrell's Boney M group performs in a hall at Kloten airport in Zurich, Switzerland on Saturday, May 14, 2005

Boney M lead singer, Bobby Farrell died on Thursday

Bobby Farrell, the lead singer and the only male member of Boney M, was found dead in his hotel room in St Petersburg on Thursday after performing the night before, his agent and investigators reported.

Boney M was an influential German disco group active during the 70s and 80s.

The 61-year-old performer had been said he wasn't feeling well during his performance, though the cause of death is still unknown, his agent John Seine told AFP.

"Beforehand he had performed a successful concert with the band in St Petersburg, where everything went normally," he said.

Farrell had suffered from ill health for the last decade, including "heart problems, shortage of breath and problems with his stomach," according to Seine.

'Quite a bizarre person'

Farrell was "quite a bizarre person," he said. "He had a big heart but he was explosive. He was a fantastic person."

Farrell was known for his electric stage presence, along with bell-bottomed costumes and large afro hairstyle. The Aruba-born Dutch national became a sailor and wound up working as a DJ in the Netherlands. He was discovered there by producer Frank Farian who brought him to West Germany and put together the band Boney M in 1974.

The group split up in 1986 after producing hits such as "Rivers of Babylon," "Daddy Cool" and "Rasputin."

The band's hits continued to be remixed and reissued by the original members as well as Farian, and their music has also been sampled by contemporary artists including Lady Gaga.

Farrell's next show was supposed to be a New Years Eve performance in Rimini, Italy.

Author: Stuart Tiffen (dpa, AFP)
Editor: Greg Wiser