Greece is in mourning today after popular Greek folk singer, songwriter and actor, Tolis Voskopoulos, passed away on Monday at the age of 80.
Voskopoulos died in an Athens hospital of cardiac arrest, a few days shy of his 81st birthday and several weeks after being hospitalised with respiratory problems, Greek media reported.
The first person to release a statement was Greek Culture Minister, Lina Mendoni, who wrote: “Tolis Voskopoulos was fortunate to be appreciated by his colleagues and adored by the public.”
“He was a true popular idol, a talented, intelligent performer who created a different, particular kind of entertainment on the stage,” Mendoni continued.
For his part, Greek Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, also mourned the loss of the folk singer on Twitter.
He “lived as he sang, sang as he lived and in the same way he left: ‘unrepeatable,’ as his melodic lyrics will say forever,” Mitsotakis wrote, using the title of one of Voskopoulos’ songs.
The Greek public and of course, a number of Greek singers who looked up to Voskopoulos also expressed their sadness at his passing, including Anna Vissi, Konstantinos Argyros and George Dalaras.
“He was the last of his generation! A man with a special temperament in his personal and artistic life,” Dalaras said on Facebook.
His wife, Angela Gerekou, who is a former minister and current head of the Greek Tourist Organisation, wrote simply on Facebook, “Thank You,” to show her appreciation to everyone for their support as she and their daughter, Maria Voskopoulou, grieve.
Who was Tolis Voskopoulos?
Born in Greece’s main port city of Piraeus on July 26, 1940, to parents who were refugees from Asia Minor, Voskopoulos was the youngest of 12 children and the only boy.
He began his career as an actor, first appearing on stage at the age of 18 in 1953, and made his film debut a few years later in 1963.
His first major musical success was considered to be the 1968 song “Agonia,” composed by Giorgos Zambetas, which sold more than 300,000 copies, a record-breaking figure for Greek music at the time.
He continued producing major hits over the following decades, and became known as “prince” to his legions of fans. His last stage performance was in February 2020, when he sang alongside his daughter Maria to celebrate 60 years of his career.
Voskopoulos was married four times.