French rock star, Johnny Hallyday, dies at age 74

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Johnny Hallyday, the French rock icon and occasional actor, has died from lung cancer.

The first Gallic singer sold over 110 million records during a music career spanning over half a century.

In a statement, his wife Laeticia said: "Johnny Hallyday has left us", the AFP news agency reports. I write these words without believing them.

"The rock "n" roll attitude which he brought from the US made him an idol to youth of the sixties", Macron's office said. "My man is no longer with us", said Laeticia Hallyday, 42, in a statement made in the early hours. Johnny in 1960. The following year while performing at the first rock festival at the Palais des Sports in Paris, he set off a near-riot that led to a ban on rock "n" roll shows for several months.

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Hallyday's 2001 concert at the Eiffel Tower drew a crowd as large as 600,000.

Hallyday, whose real name was Jean-Philippe Smet, was known as the French Elvis, but never found success outside of his home country.

Hallyday was for many years married to French singer Sylvie Vartan and the two were considered a musical power couple.

When asked the best compliment he could receive he once replied, "The show was good tonight".

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Born in Malesherbes, Paris, Hallyday was the son of a French mother and Belgian father.

Hallyday was France's first full-fledged rock star and Variety reported had lived through "a failed suicide attempt, a trail of broken marriages, cocaine use, chronic tax problems, a life-threatening motorcycle accident and, near the end of his life, a ghastly botched operation on a herniated disc".

"He's quite incredible. People of all ages like him", he added.

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