Singer Roger Whittaker is dead

Singer Roger Whittaker is dead
Roger Whittaker died aged 87. (Archive photo 2012)
Image: Patrick Seeger (dpa)

“It is with great sadness that we announce the death of our beloved Roger Whittaker,” said the statement distributed by record label Sony. He died peacefully and surrounded by his family.

“Roger was an iconic artist, a wonderful husband and father. He touched so many hearts in his life with his music and will live on in our memories forever,” the statement continued.

Breakthrough with “Durham Town”

Born in Kenya in 1936 to English parents, Whittaker embarked on a career as a musician in the early 1960s. The career of the trained zoologist, marine biologist and biochemist only really took off at the end of the decade.

His big breakthrough came in 1969 with the ballad “Durham Town”. His biggest hits included “Albany” and “The Last Farewell.” After this song made it onto American radio and the US Top 20 in 1975, it also became a huge success in Europe. In the UK it reached number 2 on the charts, just behind Rod Stewart’s “Sailing”. Later even Elvis Presley recorded “The Last Farewell”.

Large German fan base

Whittaker had his most loyal fan base in Germany. He therefore recorded many songs in German using phonetic transcription, although he had to struggle with the umlauts.

Whittaker had withdrawn from the public eye for years and most recently lived with his wife Natalie in the south of France.

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