Johnny Hallyday: Rock icon known as French Elvis dies at 74 Updated 6 Dec 2017, 8:07am

Johnny Hallyday, France's biggest rock star for more than half a century and an icon who packed sports stadiums and all but lit up the Eiffel Tower with his pumping pelvis and high-voltage tunes, has died. He was 74.

Key points:

  • Johnny Hallyday was France's biggest rock star for more than half a century
  • President Emmanuel Macron paid tribute to the 74-year-old performer
  • Hallyday was treated for lung cancer and health problems in recent years

President Emmanuel Macron announced his death in a statement on Wednesday, saying: "He brought a part of America into our national pantheon."

Mr Macron's office said the President spoke with Hallyday's family but did not provide details about where the rocker died or the circumstances.

Hallyday had lung cancer and repeated health scares in recent years that dominated national news, yet he continued performing as recently as a few months ago.

Hallyday fashioned his glitzy stage aura from Elvis Presley, drew musical inspiration from Chuck Berry and Buddy Holly, performed with Jimi Hendrix, and made an album in country music's capital, Nashville.

His stardom largely ended at the French-speaking world, yet in France itself, he was an institution, with a postage stamp in his honour.

"I'm not a star. I'm just a simple man," he said in a 2006 interview on France 3.