Eduard Khil, better known to the world as the Trololo Guy, has trolled his last lolo.
Eduard Khil would almost certainly have remained unknown to the world outside his native Russia, but for the emergence of his 1976 rendition of "I Am Glad, 'Cause I'm Finally Returning Back Home," a song written by Arkady Ostrovsky in 1966, on YouTube. Because the original lyrics of that song, about an American cowboy riding the plains, didn't sit well with the authorities - this was the Soviet Union, remember, the motherland of totalitarianism - Khil simply sang "trololo" and other nonsense lyrics instead. 35 years later, a meme sensation was born.
Despite his pre-trololo anonymity in the rest of the world, Khil was quite the celebrity behind the iron curtain (at least according to his Wikipedia entry), earning commendations including the Meritorious Artist of the RSFSR in 1968, the Order of the Red Banner of Labor in 1971 and the People's Artist of Russia, the country's most prestigious artist award, in 1971. His career had pretty much wound down by the 1990s, but in 2009 he was awarded the Order of Merit for the Fatherland for his 75th birthday, and in 2010 he performed in the Victory Day Parade in St. Petersburg.
"The death of the exceptional singer, Eduard Khil, is an irretrievable loss to Russian culture. He was truly a people's artist. Several generations of people loved his songs not only in this country but also abroad," Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said in a statement. "Eduard Khil is no more, but we still have the cultural heritage and fond memories of this outstanding, talented man."
Khil died of complications arising from a stroke he suffered in April. He was 77.
Source: Los Angeles Times