Singer Johnny Hallyday, known as the French Elvis Presley, died on Dec. 5 at the age of 74.
"Johnny Hallyday has left us," said his wife, Laeticia Hallyday, The Guardian reports. "I write these words without believing them. But yet, it’s true. My man is no longer with us. He left us tonight as he lived his whole life, with courage and dignity."
In early 2017, the French rock star told fans he was battling lung cancer. At the time, he assured fans it was not life-threatening and that he was "doing very well," reports the AFP.
Before the end of the year, however, the illness took his life.
Hallyday sold over 110 million records over his musical career, notes The Inquisitr. He is credited with introducing American-style rock and roll to France in the 1960s.
In addition to music, Hallyday also acted and once performed for French film director Jean-Luc Godard.
Hallyday's success in both industries won him the Presley nickname, as did Elvis' influence on the French star's career, The Inquisitr reports. Hallyday himself said the movie "Loving You" inspired him to sign up for acting and singing classes in the first place.
While his French hits did not achieve the same fame overseas, musicians and actors worldwide mourned the loss of Hallyday.
"Farewell Dear [Johnny Hallyday]," wrote American musician Lenny Kravitz on Twitter. "Your friendship, sweetness and support are imprinted in my heart. It is an honor to have known you and to have spent time with you and your beautiful family. Your soul is pure Rock and Roll. Repose en paix."
"I'm very sad to hear the news that Johnny Hallyday passed away," Celine Dion tweeted. "He was a giant in show business...a true icon! My thoughts go out to his family, his loved ones, and to the millions of fans who adored him for many decades.He will be sadly missed, but never forgotten.- Celine xx…"
"Heart broken to learn that our French national hero [Johnny Hallyday] has passed away," chimed in actor Gilles Marini. "He was our #elvispresley. My heart goes to his family and particularly his wife ... His music covered so many generations. He was the best performer we ever had. #Rip and thank you."
French President Emmanuel Macron also paid tribute to the rock star.
"We will never forget the name, face, the voice or above all the concerts of Johnny Hallyday," Macron said.
Meanwhile, journalists called the star the country’s "last idol" and a "French legend." L'Obs magazine even penned, "The king is dead," as one of their headlines.
Sources: AFP via The Local, The Inquisitr, The Guardian, Lenny Kravitz/Twitter, Celine Dion/Twitter, Gilles Marini/Twitter / Featured Image: ChrisEngelsma/Wikimedia Commons / Embedded Images: Erling Mandelmann/Wikimedia Commons, Frederic Loridant via Wikimedia Commons