Terrible news this morning. Johnny Hallyday nous a quitté.
Somehow despite the fact he was gravely ill his death still comes as a shock. We'd seen Johnny face what seemed like the end before, and he always managed to rise above it. But it's the end of the story now.
It's easy for the Anglophone press to sum him up as the French Elvis, but there was so much more to him than that. He was - in France - the spirit of rock 'n' roll. He was the Beatles, Stones, Hendrix, the blue collar bluesman, the sequinned showman, the wise old guy on the TV talent show. A career that embraced rock 'n' roll, pop, country and blues and he mastered them all.
The fact that in recent years he faced so many serious health problems and kept going was an inspiration to others facing similar challenges.
He was one of the first celebrities to see his career followed by the media in intense detail, his triumphs and his blunders, the mistakes and the triumphs.
He may not have had a final act like Johnny Cash, but his output in his later years saw him dig deep into the defiant spirit of rock 'n' roll, his voice all the more powerful.
There was no one like Johnny, and there never will be anyone like him again.