Singer and actor Johnny Hallyday known as the French Elvis passed away on December 6, 2017. According to a statement, Johnny Hallyday succumbed to lung cancer. He was 74-years-old and leaves behind his wife of 21-years Laeticia Boudou.
Not only was Johnny Hallyday one of France’s biggest stars, but he was one of the best-selling musical artists worldwide. News of Hallyday’s passing prompted responses from fans and celebrities worldwide. Though many people refer to Hallyday as “The biggest rock star you’ve never heard of,” the number of tributes coming in for Hallyday challenge that nickname.
Hallyday was born Jean-Philippe Smet on June 15, 1943. He was greatly influenced by the music of Elvis Presley and adapted many rock’s early classics into French. The Jimi Hendrix Experience opened for Johnny Hallyday on October 13, 1966.
You may see some of the celebrity and fan tributes that are being shared for Johnny Hallyday along with a video playlist of some of his most famous songs in the player below.
French President Emanuel Macron released a statement following news of Hallyday’s death and described the nation as in mourning. You may read that statement below.
“We all have a piece of Johnny Hallyday inside every one of us. The public today is in tears, and the whole country mourns.”
— Laeticia Hallyday (@LHallyday) October 29, 2017
They called him the French Elvis, the "biggest rock star the English-speaking world never knew". To France & the Francophone world, he was an icon, a voice transcending generations. Godspeed, Johnny. Your legacy will live on. ??#RIP Johnny Hallyday (1943-2017) #JohnnyHallyday pic.twitter.com/RMSfelnti6
— TV5MONDE AsiaPacific (@TV5MONDEapac) December 6, 2017
Nicolas Sarkozy, Johnny Hallyday and Laeticia Boudou on their wedding day. 25 mars 1996 pic.twitter.com/MFjRDkXFPg
— Smet (@smet_us) March 25, 2013
Singer Celine Dion shared a message on Twitter following the news that Johnny Hallyday had passed away. She shared the following post.
“I’m very sad to hear the news that Johnny Hallyday passed away. He was a giant in show business…a true icon! My thoughts go out to his family, his loved ones, and to the millions of fans who adored him for many decades.He will be sadly missed, but never forgotten.- Céline xx…”
I'm very sad to hear the news that Johnny Hallyday passed away. He was a giant in show business…a true icon! My thoughts go out to his family, his loved ones, and to the millions of fans who adored him for many decades.He will be sadly missed, but never forgotten.- Céline xx…
— Celine Dion (@celinedion) December 6, 2017
Lenny Kravitz considered Johnny Hallyday a dear friend and left a heartfelt message and tribute with photos to Johnny after his death.
Farewell Dear @JohnnySjh. Your friendship, sweetness and support are imprinted in my heart. It is an honor to have known you and to have spent time with you and your beautiful family. Your soul is pure Rock and Roll. Repose en paix. ?: @candyTman pic.twitter.com/1ZAFUewHlo
— Lenny Kravitz (@LennyKravitz) December 6, 2017
Jeff Sneider included a video featuring Johnny Hallyday covering “House of the Rising Sun” in French. Sneider stated Hallyday’s version of the song always gave him chills.
You can hear Hallyday singing “House of the Rising Sun” in the video player below.
R.I.P. JOHNNY HALLYDAY, aka the French Elvis, whose cover of "The House of the Rising Sun" always gave me chills… https://t.co/yQuPLAeQOR
— Jeff Sneider (@TheInSneider) December 6, 2017
Johny Hallyday performed for over 50 years and was a celebrated musician and actor. Were you a fan of Johnny Hallyday’s?
Our condolences go out to Johnny Hallyday’s family during this difficult time.