Published Dec 30, 2010During the late 1970s, Bobby Farrell achieved massive success as the singer of the German-based disco group Boney M. Today (December 30), however, fans were greeted with the sad news that he was found dead in a hotel room in St. Petersburg, Russia. Farrell was 61.
The Associated Press reports that the cause of death is unknown, and that Farrell had suffered health problems for much of the last decade. According to Farrell's agent, the singer had complained of breathing problems before and after his last show on Wednesday (December 29) and was found by hotel workers after he failed to answer a wake-up call. He was due to fly to Rome for a TV appearance today.
Born in Aruba, Farrell joined Boney M in the mid-'70s and was their sole male member during their most successful years. The group created some of the biggest hits of the disco era, including "Rivers of Babylon," "Rasputin," and "Brown Girl in the Ring." They also put out the chart-topping Christmas single "Mary's Boy Child/Oh My Lord." All told, the group released 38 Top 10 singles.
While he was a key member of the group's live lineup, Farrell reportedly appeared on few of Boney M's recordings, as band mastermind Frank Farian sung most of the male parts. In recent years, Farrell recorded solo albums containing re-recorded versions of Boney M hits.
He continued performing up until his death, touring under the name Bobby Farrell's Boney M.