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EDITIONS
 Sunday, 12 January, 2003, 12:09 GMT
Bee Gees singer dies
Maurice Gibb
Maurice Gibb had showed initial signs of recovery
Bee Gees star Maurice Gibb has died in a Miami hospital at the age of 53.

The singer had suffered a heart attack during emergency surgery for an intestinal blockage.

He was a ray of sunshine in my life - I will always remember his shining smile and zest for life

Jackie
A spokesperson for his family said he died in the Mount Sinai Medical Centre's intensive care unit about 0045 local time (0545 GMT).

Gibb, together with Robin and Barry, was one of the biggest disco stars of the 1970s as part of the enduringly successful Bee Gees.

Twin brother Robin was at Maurice's bedside after flying in from London just an hour before.

Also present were friends and other family members, including older brother Barry, wife Yvonne, and the singer's children.

Maurice had briefly regained consciousness and recognised a number of relatives, but his condition later deteriorated.

His relatives had been warned to expect the worst as his condition had become "disappointing" and it was thought likely he would have to be put on a ventilator and had suffered brain damage.

Paying tribute to Gibb, the family's statement read: "It is with great sadness and sorrow that we regretfully announce the passing of Maurice Gibb.
Robin Gibb
Robin Gibb had flown to his brother's bedside

"His love, enthusiasm and energy for life remain an inspiration to all of us. We will all deeply miss him."

Stomach pains

Fans had gathered outside the hospital, sending flowers, floral tributes and messages of goodwill to the star.

Doctors operated on the 53-year-old singer and bassist on Thursday after he collapsed at home.

He is understood to have started complaining of stomach pains on Thursday morning.

Former wife Lulu and singer Michael Jackson were among those who sent messages of support when it was announced that the star - who successfully battled alcoholism - was critically ill.

Alcoholism battle
It's a major loss to music. He was one third of that unique vocal blend, so close it could only have come from brothers.

Paul Gambaccini

Gibb has been married to Yvonne for more than 25 years, and credited her with his successful battle against alcoholism.

His younger brother Andy died of a heart attack in 1988 at the age of 30, following drink and drug problems.

The Bee Gees performed as a group from an early age, impressing audiences in Manchester before the family emigrated to Australia.

One of their biggest periods was during the disco craze of the 1970s, largely thanks to their contribution to the movie Saturday Night Fever starring John Travolta.

Music journalist Paul Gambaccini told the BBC: "Maurice was an integral part of the number five best-selling act of all time. It's a major loss to music. He was one third of that unique vocal blend, so close it could only have come from brothers."

He added: "He was the high part of the three-part harmony. I'm afraid that this beautiful Bee Gee sound without him can never be produced again."

Writer Patrick Humphries said Maurice Gibb was a tremendous character.

"The great thing about the Bee Gees was that they were successful twice over. They recently had a greatest hits CD and they were one of the few acts that could fill two CDs of great songs.

"What made them unique was the vocal style but also the songwriting. It was a unique sound and their like won't be heard again"

  WATCH/LISTEN
  ON THIS STORY
  The BBC's David Sillito
"He leaves behind a catalogue of songs"
  Music journalist, Patrick Humphries
"He was a tremendous character"
  Chris Hutchins, former Bee Gees press agent
"He was very much a tormented soul"
Maurice Gibb

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See also:

21 Mar 01 | Music
22 Sep 99 | Entertainment
12 Jan 03 | Music
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