Eurovisions tragedies – fatal plane crash, Covid complications and sudden death

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Eurovision, the world’s biggest singing competition, is usually a happy affair and a chance to unify Europe with song and dance.

However, after 66 years some of the show’s most iconic participants have passed and their legacy lives on.

From the Alexandrov Ensemble Choir who led the halftime show to Michael Julien who paved the way to victory in 1969, some of Eurovision’s most recognisable faces still continue to make an impact on the show’s legacy to this day.

Daily Star has trawled through the archives to bring you everything you need to know about the competition's tragedies.

Alexandrov Ensemble Choir

One of the biggest tragedies involved in Eurovision was the loss of 64 members of the Alexandrov Ensemble Choir.

In the early hours of Christmas Day 2016, a Russian Defence Ministry plane went down whilst flying to Syria.

Off the coast of Sochi, the crash had no survivors and 93 people were lost whilst travelling for a Christmas celebration with troops at a military base.

The group, who sadly lost their lives on 25 December, had performed Not Gonna Get Us with t.A.T.u during the song contest’s interval in 2009 when the event was hosted in Moscow.

The choir is the official choir of the Russian armed forces and one of just two choir groups that have the title of Red Army Choir.

Örs Siklósi

Örs Siklósi, the lead singer of AWS, performed with the band for Hungary during the show’s 2018 run.

He died aged just 29 years old after a battle with leukaemia and his fellow bandmates released a statement upon his premature death.

They said that their loss was “indescribable'' and explained: “In June, Örs was diagnosed with leukaemia. We now have to inform you with a broken heart that on 5 February our partner, friend and brother Örs Siklósi has passed away at the age of 29 after a long struggle."

AWS, which stands for Ants With Slippers, also said: “His creativity, the depth of his lyrics and his presence on stage will be greatly missed. Losing him is beyond our reach and he will leave a vast space not just in our lives but also in the music scene".

Rajko Dujmić

Croatian songwriter Rajko Dujmić was part of the pop band Novi Fosili and the talented musician wrote Yugoslavia’s winning 1989 entry Rock Me, which was performed with Stevo Cvikić.

In 2013 he received a Porin award for Lifetime Achievement whilst at the Croatian Music Awards and later died in 2020.

The 65-year-old was unfortunately involved in a traffic accident and died six days after the incident, leaving behind a wife and a son.

Timur Selçuk

The Turkish singer participated in Eurovision twice, once in 1975 with Turkey’s first-ever entry and again 14 years later in 1989.

In the latter, his daughter was part of the singing group and the song charted at number 21 on the show.

The composer, who had been playing the piano since the age of 5, passed away in his sleep back in 2020.

Michael Julien

Michael co-wrote a number of hit songs throughout his impressive 93 years, including 1969’s winning Eurovision song.

His repertoire includes working with Norman Wisdom, Shirley Bassey and Cliff Richard.

Julien’s song Boom Bang-a-Bang placed joint first in 1969 with 18 points and reached number two in the UK charts, where it stayed for 13 weeks.

The songwriter died in 2020 after he caught Covid-19 in hospital.

Liam Reilly

Former member of Irish rock band Bagatelle, Liam once received an offer from Elton John’s producer to go solo but he declined and loyally stuck with his pals.

Eventually, he did end up embarking on a solo career later on and became a finalist in 1988’s Eurovision, while in 1990 he placed second and one of his songs also placed tenth in 1991.

Liam died “suddenly but peacefully” in his home in January 2021.

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  • Eurovision Song Contest
  • Graham Norton
  • BBC

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