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Famous Greek Singer Demis Roussos Dead at 68

Greek singer Demis Roussos performs at the Edineyat international festival in Ehden town, northern Lebanon, Aug. 10, 2013.

Renowned Greek singer, Artemios "Demis" Roussos, whose operatic pop ballads and serenades made him a household name in the 1970s and 1980s around the world, has died in Athens at the age of 68.

His passing was announced in a statement Monday by the Igia clinic, where he was hospitalized for some time, without mentioning the cause of death.

A public funeral is planned for Friday at the First Cemetery of Athens, a resting site for many Greek politicians and cultural icons.

Roussos was born in June 1946 in Alexandria, Egypt, to a Greek father and an Egyptian-Italian mother. His formative years were influenced by jazz, traditional Arab and Greek folk music.

In the early 1960s during the Suez Canal crisis the family moved to Greece, where Roussos took music lessons and played in amateur groups. He came to prominence with the band Aphrodite's Child that he formed together with Vangelis (Papathanassiou), the Greek composer who won an Oscar in 1982 for "Chariots of Fire."

Soon after, Roussos started his solo performance outside of Greece, recording hits such as "Goodbye My Love, Goodbye," "Forever and Ever,” “My Friend the Wind,'' “Velvet Mornings,'' “Someday Somewhere,'' “Lovely Lady Of Arcadia,'' “Quand je t'aime,” and may others. He sold about 60 million records worldwide.

Roussos recorded and toured until 2009 when he released his last album. One of his last public appearances was in Athens in 2013 when he was bestowed the Legion of Honor Medal, France's highest distinction, for his life achievements.

Among his favorite composers were Mozart and Sting.

Roussos lived in Los Angeles, Paris, Monte Carlo, London and Athens.