By RFE RL
(RFE/RL) — Legendary Serbian singer Djordje Balasevic has died after contracting the coronavirus, state television reported on February 19.
The 66-year-old, who was also a poet and director, had remained popular across the former Yugoslavia after the breakup of Yugoslavia in the 1990s.
Balasevic was admitted to a hospital in the northern Serbian city of Novi Sad on February 16 after suffering from pneumonia that appeared to be caused by the coronavirus.
State broadcaster RTS reported that Balasevic died in hospital on February 19.
Balasevic, born in Novi Sad in 1953, began his career in the 1980s, first performing in bands before going solo. He was known for his soft pop music and humorous lyrics.
Igor Mirovic, the head of the provincial government in Novi Sad, said Balasevic’s death had left a “huge, irreplaceable void.”
“With his poetry and music, Djordje Balasevic has permanently marked the art scene not only in our country, but in the whole region,” Mirovic said in a telegram sent to Balasevic’s family.
Balasevic stood out as a sharp critic of late Yugoslav strongman Slobodan Milosevic.
The media in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina broadcast news of Balasevic’s death.
Croatia’s state HRT television hailed Balasevic’s “utterly anti-war and pacifist position that is present in many songs, concert speeches, and interviews.”