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Greek popular folk singer Tolis Voskopoulos poses in front of a poster advertising a concert marking the 60th year anniversary of his career, in Athens, Greece. Considered a legend of modern Greek folk music, Voskopoulos died Monday, July 19, 2021 in an Athens hospital of cardiac arrest, a few days shy of his 81st birthday.

Tatiana Bolari /The Associated Press

Tolis Voskopoulos, a popular Greek folk singer, songwriter and actor whose career spanned more than six decades, has died. He was 80.

Voskopoulos, considered a star of modern Greek folk music, died Monday in an Athens hospital of cardiac arrest, a few days shy of his 81st birthday and several weeks after being hospitalized with respiratory problems, Greek media reported.

“Tolis Voskopoulos was fortunate to be appreciated by his colleagues and adored by the public,” Culture Minister Lina Mendoni said in a statement. “He was a true popular idol, a talented, intelligent performer who created a different, particular kind of entertainment on the stage.”

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He “lived as he sang, sang as he lived and in the same way he left: `unrepeatable,’ as his melodic lyrics will say forever,” tweeted Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, using the title of one of Voskopoulos’s songs.

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. He is survived by his wife, former minister and current head of the Greek Tourist Organization Angela Gerekou and their daughter Maria Voskopoulou.

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