The famous singer and songwriter Roger Whittaker has died at the age of 87.
“His life, his art and legacy meant so much to so many of us around the world,” Jesse Waggoner, Whittaker’s friend, wrote in an official statement on Facebook.
“We are grateful that the gift of his music remains with us.”
His biggest hits include “Durham Town”, “The Last Farewell”, “New World in the Morning” and his 1982 version of “Wind beneath my Wings”.
Worldwide, Whittaker has sold nearly 50 million records since he began writing songs and singing in Welsh folk clubs as a 26-year-old, reports The Guardian. He studied zoology, biochemistry and marine biology at Bangor University when he started making music.
However, he only gained fame when he released “Durham Town”. Whittaker said at the time that he had no faith in the song. He didn’t even market the song in Britain and first traveled to Finland. By the time he returned, “Durham Town” was quickly becoming a hit in Britain.
Whittaker was born in 1936 in Nairobi, Kenya, where his English parents were settled.
The music of East Africa left a mark on his childhood.
“In more than 30 years of singing and making music, the wonderful drumming and those infectious rhythms have played a big role in everything I’ve ever written and sung,” he said at the time.
Whittaker retired in 2012 and is survived by his wife, Natalie, whom he married for nearly 60 years, and their five children, Emily, Lauren, Jessica, Guy and Alexander.