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France and world pays hommage to 'French Frank Sinatra' Charles Aznavour

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Republican Guards carry the flag-drapped coffin of late singer Charles Aznavour during a national tribute at the Hotel des Invalides in Paris, France, October 5, 2018. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

More than 2,000 people gathered Friday at Les Invalides, a national monument in the heart of Paris, to pay tribute to legendary French singer Charles Aznavour, who died on Monday aged 94.


French President Emmanuel Macron will deliver a speech at a ceremony to be held in the courtyard of Les Invalides, a complex of buildings and monuments related to French military history.

Aznavour was found dead on Monday at his home in Mouries in southeastern France.

Over a career spanning eight decades, “France’s Frank Sinatra” –- as he was fondly known -- wrote more than 1,000 songs and performed them in at least six languages.

He was a vocalist who was admired by musicians as diverse as Bob Dylan and the Sex Pistols.

Armenian Prime Minister Nicol Pachinian is set to deliver the eulogy and French President Emmanuel Macron will also address the ceremony.

Aznavour died in his bathtub after suffering heart and breathing problems, an autopsy has found, as tributes continue to pour in from around the world for one of France's most famous performers.

Charles Aznavour, a life in dates
  • 22 May 1924: Born Shahnour Vaghinag Aznavourian to Micha Aznavourian and Knar Baghdasarian;
  • 1933: Takes the stage name Aznavour, performs at the Théâtre du Petit Monde;
  • 1935: Meets Maurice Chevalier, whom he meets several times;
  • 1941: Forms a duo with Pierre Roche;
  • 1946: Starts performing with Edith Piaf, marries Micheline Rugel Fromentin;
  • 1947-48: Tours France, the US and Canada with Roche;
  • 1948: Releases six records with Roche;
  • 1950: Piaf, whose chauffeur and confidant he has become, persuades him to have plastic surgery on his nose;
  • 1953: First truly successful solo concert in Casablanca;
  • 1955: First television appearance, marries Evelyn Plessis;
  • 1955-56: Releases several successful records;
  • 1960: Signs with the Barclay record label, appears in François Truffaut’s film Tirez sur le Pianiste.
  • 1963: Performs at New York’s Carnegie Hall;
  • 1967: Marries Ulla Thorsell;
  • 1974: She is number one in the British hit parade, 44 in the US;
  • 1979: Found guilty of tax fraud, fined and given a one-year suspended prison sentence;
  • 1989: Records Pour toi l’Arménie with 24 other artists in aid of victims of the Armenian earthquake the previous year;
  • 1996: Named Entertainer of the Century by CNN and users of Time Online;
  • 1997: Awarded the Légion d’honneur;
  • 2008: Granted Armenian citizenship;
  • 2017: Awarded the 2,618th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame;
  • 1 October 2018: Dies at his home in south-east France.

International hommage

He had said last week that he wanted to breathe his last on stage and was scheduled to appear live in Belgium and France in the next few weeks.

His legions of fans have been left heartbroken by his death, while fellow entertainers lined up to pay tribute to his influence as a taboo-breaking singer and original songwriter.

Sting and Lenny Kravitz lauded the "eternal" legacy of the "gentleman" of traditional French singing, while Elton John wrote on Twitter that he was "honoured" at having sung with the man sometimes referred to as "France's Sinatra".

Aznavour's fanbase spanned the world thanks to his role in Francois Truffaut's film "Shoot the Piano Player" in 1960 that catapulted him to fame outside France, as well as his commercial success in America and loyal following among the Armenian diaspora.

On Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles, wellwishers layed flowers on the pavement star bearing his name, while Armenia commemorated him in parliament and on the underground train stations in the capital Yerevan which played his songs.

The Armenian government also decreed a day of mourning to coincide with the day on which he will be buried in France, with details of his funeral still unknown.

Meanwhile the French presidency announced late Tuesday that the nation would pay homage to the beloved singer in Paris on Friday.

President Emmanuel Macron will deliver a speech at a ceremony to be held in the courtyard of Les Invalides, a complex of buildings and monuments related to French military history.

Armenian heritage

was born in Paris on May 22, 1924, to Armenian parents who had fled the massacres in their homeland and the singer would say that Armenians were "in my heart and in my blood".

He had been due to accompany Macron as a guest of honour at a summit of francophone countries in Armenia on October 10 and 11.

In Lebanon, which has a large Armenian population, his death was also front-page news and radio stations played his songs.

In Paris, the Eiffel tower was lit up in gold Monday night in his honour, while Mayor Anne Hidalgo called for the French capital to rename a street after him.

French newspapers Tuesday splashed the singer on their front pages, with several praising him as the "last of the giants".

Aznavour, who was three-times married, leaves a wife, Ulla, and five surviving children.

Hundreds of thousands of people lined the streets of Paris in December for the funeral and national homage to another post-wa.r French singer, Johnny Hallyday.