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Boney M star Bobby Farrell dies

posted 30 Dec 2010, 11:03 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 30 Dec 2010, 11:05 ]

Dutch popstar Bobby Farrell, a member of the band 'Boney M' died in Russia at the age of 61.

ST.PETERSBURG, RUSSIA (DECEMBER 30, 2010) REUTERS - Boney M frontman Bobby Farrell was found dead in his hotel room in St. Petersburg on Thursday (December 30), the day after a performance in the city where the band rose to stardom in the Soviet era.

"We confirm that Alfonso Roberto Farrel has indeed died in our hotel this morning," said Olga Yakubenko, reception desk manager at Ambassador Hotel where Farrell was staying with his band.

Farrell was 61.

The cause of his death was not immediately clear, said Maria Malenchuk from St. Petersburg's branch of Russia's investigative committee, but added investigators did not treat his death as suspicious.

"I dont't think it's a criminal case. The investigator called me from the site and said they haven't found anything, that he died naturally in his bed. Forensic expert is there as well. He also confirms this. Of course this is not the final information as they are still working on the case there but they say it was a natural death. Don't forget about his age. He was born in 1949. He was tired after corporate event. So I think it's a normal situation," said Maria Malenchuk.

Producer Kira Chistyakova who set up Farrell's previous visits but was not involved with his last trip said she suspected he was invited to St.Petersburg to entertain at a corporate event. Bobby Farell performed in a restaurant in city centre the night before he died.

"I'm very surprised. I don't know anything about his trip. It must have been a private corporate visit. I don't know who organised it but it is a very sad story. I can say that Bobby Farrell's death is a heavy blow for pop community. We are very sorry but it has happened unfortunately in our country," said Chistyakova.

Farrell was famous for dancing and lip synching for the disco band that rose to prominence in Europe, the United States and the Soviet Union with songs like "Ma Baker", "Rivers of Babylon" and "Rasputin".

Boney M was put together by German singer-songwriter Frank Farian who also produced most of the vocals for the group, which stormed to the top of the charts in the late 1970s with a string of disco hits.