Greece’s legendary popular singer Stelios Kazantzidis died Friday after battling cancer for several months, an Athens Medical Centre official said. He was 69.
Kazantzidis, whose career spanned more than half a century, became popular in the 1950s and ‘60s for his songs recounting the sorrows of the working classes and Greek emigrants.
“If I could cut social injustice with a knife, I would do it,” he said in a 1990 interview.
Hundreds of thousands of Greeks who immigrated after World War II to Germany, Australia and North America in search of work saw in Kazantzidis’ songs a link to their homeland. Several loyal fans gathered outside the hospital Friday to pay tribute to the singer who embodied the trials of two generations of Greeks.
A son of immigrant parents from Asia Minor, Kazantzidis recorded his first album in 1952.
He stopped performing in public in 1965. In the last 20 years, after a row with a record company, he recorded only a handful of albums, preferring to live in semi-retirement in his seaside home in Greece. His last record was released in 1997.
Last year, he caused a furor with a book describing in detail his relationships with several well-known female singers, and an ongoing legal dispute with a former close friend and fellow musician.
Kazantzidis is survived by his wife, Vasso.