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Stelios Kazantzidis, 69; Popular Greek Singer

From Times Wire Reports

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.

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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.

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