Greek Singer Demis Roussos Dies Aged 68

Greek singer Demis Roussos, who became popular in the 1960s and 1970s, has died in an Athens hospital at the age of 68.

The Egyptian-born singer had been in the private hospital with an undisclosed illness for some time.

Roussos sold around 60 million records worldwide and saw success when he joined the progressive rock band Aphrodite's Child in 1967.

He had solo hits with Forever And Ever, Mr Reason and Goodbye My Love, Goodbye.

Artemios "Demis" Ventouris Roussos was born and raised in Alexandria, Egypt before his parents moved to Greece during the Suez Crisis.

He began his music career aged 17 in a band called The Idols, where he met his future Aphrodite's Child bandmates.

Roussos put his popularity in Britain down to the rise of holidays abroad.

"They started wanting to go on holidays, like Spain and Greece," he once told The Scotsman newspaper.

"My music came right on time. It was romantic Mediterranean music addressed to all the people who wanted to go on holiday. My music was liked by the people."

The star struggled with his weight for a long time and co-wrote a book about obesity.

In an argument about Roussos in Mike Leigh's TV play Abigail's Party, Alison Steadman said he "doesn't sound" fat.

He made one of his earliest appearances on English-language TV on the Basil Brush Show.

Roussos was aboard TWA flight 847 when it was hijacked by men with the Lebanese group Hezbollah on 14 June, 1985.

In exchange for Roussos and the other hostages, the group demanded the release of 17 of its militants and Iraqi Islamic Daawa Party members who were arrested in Kuwait in connection with attacks that killed six people in 1983.

Roussos, who spent his 39th birthday as a hostage, was released four days into the ordeal, with most of the roughly 150 passengers held for nearly two more weeks.

The larger-than-life artist recorded and toured until 2009, when his last album came out.

One of his final public appearances was in the Athens in 2013, when he received France's Legion d'Honneur medal for his life's work.

But it was his glowering face on 1970s and 1980s album covers that provided the most enduring image of the singer: a theatrical figure with unusual outfits, a flowing dark beard and long hair thinning on top.