PARIS, Dec. 6 (Xinhua) -- "For more than 50 years, he was a vibrant icon," President Emmanuel Macron said in a statement Wednesday, mourning "the French Elvis" Johnny Hallyday who died of cancer at the age of 74.
Through the generations, Hallyday's music has been ingrained in the life of the French, Macron said, adding: "He conquered them with a generosity which his concerts testified."
"Until the end, free in his mind, he will have been this familiar presence, this voice so often imitated, this personality daring to live for the better, and communicating a fraternal energy to this public who in return shouted to him: That I love you," he said.
Laeticia Hallyday, the wife of the singer, was quoted by local media as saying, "Johnny Hallyday has left us... He left us tonight as he lived his whole life, with courage and dignity."
Influenced by Elvis Presley and the 1950s rock n'roll revolution, Hallyday issued his first album in 1959 and became famous in the 1960s after performing local versions of rock standards and bringing the American music to the French public.
Over 1 million copies of his first album, "Let's Twist again," have been sold and it was awarded a gold disc. Since then, he has sold more than 100 million albums over the decades.
The veteran rocker, who was planning a new album and tour, announced in March that he had been receiving treatment for cancer.