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France-based Algerian singer Rachid Taha dies at 59

Attila Kisbenedek, AFP | Rachid Taha performs at the Hajogyar Shipyard Island festival in Hungary on August 10, 2007.

Singer Rachid Taha, giant of 1980s French rock, whose group Carte de Séjour remade the Charles Trénet classic "Douce France", died aged 59 of a heart attack on Tuesday night, said his family.

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“It is with regret and immense sadness that his son Lyes, his family and relatives, his friends and his record label Naïve, announce the death of artist Rachid Taha, following a heart attack overnight at his home in the Lilas [near Paris],” read the statement sent to AFP.

“All those memories: the success of Ya rayah, the historic ‘1,2,3 soleils’ gig, the parties, the chats and laughter all night long! How sad…! RIP dear friend”, producer Pascal Nègre wrote on Twitter.

Taha was a magnetic and popular figure on France's rock scene ever since his 1981 debut as the charismatic leader of Carte de Séjour. Born in Algeria, he moved to France aged 10. He and his group became the flagbearers of the second generation of the Franco-Algerian and Franco-Moroccan community in France.

He grew up with punk and rock, and was loyal to the genre while infusing it with Maghrebi music, as he did with his 2004 remake of The Clash's "Rock the Casbah".

His 1998 popular album "Diwan" featured Algerian Chaabi songs, including smash hit "Ya Rayah" (You, the one leaving), which reached number 11 on the French singles charts.

Taha was preparing to release a new album with the label Believe.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

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