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todaySeptember 20, 2023 12

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Roger Whittaker, a British singer whose easy-listening ballads and folk songs caught the sentiments of perfect summer days and last farewells, touching the hearts of mainly older fans across Europe and America for four decades, died on Sep. 12 in a hospital near Toulouse, in the south of France. He was 87.

His longtime publicist Howard Elson said the cause was “complications following a long illness.” Mr. Whittaker had retired to the region.

Born to British parents in Nairobi, Kenya, Mr. Whittaker grew up there with the infectious rhythms of East African music in his bloodstream. His grandfather had been a club singer in England, and his father, a Staffordshire grocer who played the violin, had been disabled in a motorcycle crash and moved his family to Kenya for the warm climate.

He wrote much of the music he performed, made a documentary film about Kenya, wrote an autobiography, appeared frequently on television and radio and sold a reported 60 million albums worldwide. One of them, “‘The Last Farewell’ and Other Hits,” recorded in 1971 and forgotten, became a sensation later, reaching No. 1 on the pop charts in 11 countries and eventually selling 11 million copies.

A documentary film, “Roger Whittaker in Kenya: A Musical Safari,” which related a history of Kenya and revisited settings of the singer’s early life there, was released in 1982.

Truly an ICON

Source: The New York Times

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