Robin Gibb, one of the three Gibb brothers who made up the Bee Gees, died today after struggling with cancer, his spokesperson confirms. He was 62.
First coming to Stateside prominence in the mid-late ’60s as one of the better acts of the post-Beatles British Invasion, the Bee Gees found their true musical calling in the mid ’70s with the rising popularity of disco. Reformulating their sound for the dancefloor, the group became the most popular act of the disco era, scoring nine chart-toppers over the course of the ’70s, including “You Should Be Dancing,” “Night Fever” and “Staying Alive,” all of which were featured on the blockbuster soundtrack to the 1977 movie Saturday Night Live, the LP of which sold a staggering 15 million copies in the U.S. Robin and Barry shared lead-vocal duties depending on song; earlier Bee Gees hits tended to feature Robin’s clear, pure voice, while Barry’s falsetto can be heard on later tracks like “Jive Talkin’.”
Robin also embarked upon an aborted solo career in the late ’60s, which he resurrected a decade later after the Bee Gees’ incredible disco-era success. He never approached the heights of his family group’s reign with his own solo efforts, but he did manage to chart a pair of top 40 solo hits, with the Beatles cover “Oh! Darling” in 1978 and the original “Boys Do Fall in Love” in 1984. The Bee Gees continued performing and recording into the 2000s, until the 2003 death of brother Maurice caused Robin and Barry to retire the group name for good. Robin’s own health troubles came to light in 2011, when he announced that he had been battling liver cancer. He was hospitalized late last month for intestinal surgery and contracted pneumonia earlier this month.