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Culture

Boney M's Bobby Farrell dies on tour, aged 61

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-12-30

Seventies disco star Bobby Farrell of the group Boney M died aged 61 Thursday while on tour in Saint Petersburg. The flamboyant Farrell topped the charts with Boney M songs like "Belfast" and "Rasputin".

AFP - Seventies disco icon Bobby Farrell, singer and dancer with the chart-topping group Boney M, died aged 61 in a Russian hotel room Thursday while on tour, his agent and investigators said.

The flamboyant performer known for his energetic dance moves "was found dead in his bed," in a hotel room in Saint Petersburg, agent John Seine told AFP by telephone from Heemstede in north Netherlands, adding: "the cause of death is not known."

Seine said Farrell had given a performance in Saint Petersburg on Wednesday, but "they told me that he was not feeling well."

"This morning, he did not wake up."

The Saint Petersburg investigative committee of prosecutors confirmed to AFP that the entertainer was found dead in his bed by an employee of the Ambassador Hotel on Thursday morning.

"There were no signs of a violent death," the committee said, adding: "The investigation continues".

Saint Petersburg news site Fontanka.ru reported that Farrell had come to the Russian city on Wednesday to take part in a corporate event, but reported feeling ill during his performance.

Farrell, a Dutch national born in Aruba, was the sole male member of Boney M, which won global fame with catchy disco numbers like "Belfast", "Ma Baker", and "Rasputin" -- many of which won gold and platinum discs.

His agent told AFP that the star born Alfonso Farrell had suffered from ill health for the last decade, "heart problems, shortage of breath and problems with his stomach".

Seine described his client as "quite a bizarre person. He had a big heart but he was explosive. He was a fantastic person."

Remembered partly for his impressive afro hairstyle and extravagant costumes, often with bare torso and tight-fitting bell bottom pants, Farrell continued to create disco music after Boney M split up in 1986, including remixes of some of the group's most famous tracks like "Rivers of Babylon", "Brown girl in the ring" and "Sunny".

Proclaiming pride in his Caribbean culture, he often fused disco with influences from Aruba.

"I want my music to make people feel good and to create sweet memories," he is quoted as having said on his official website.

"The energy in my music has no limit; I want people to feel entertained and to hear the love that I have for creating music, translated into my songs."

Farrell continued to tour the world in 2010, giving performances in the Netherlands, Turkey, New York, Colombia, Finland and Slovakia.

"I like to look good on stage and to release all my energy in my shows. I still wear my glitter costumes and my girls (backing singers) always look glamorous alongside me," the artist says on his website.

He was to have travelled to Italy for a performance on New Year's Eve, and was preparing to release a new album.

Farrell lived in Amstelveen, near Amsterdam. He is survived by a son and a daughter.

Date created : 2010-12-30

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