Robin Gibb, 33.3% of the BeeGees, died Sunday afternoon from cancer and complications from an intestinal surgery. In 2011, Robin was taken to the hospital for “intestinal problems,” the same thing that killed his brother in 2003. The twin brothers suffered from the same congenital defect; their small intestines were twisted. He is reported to also have suffered from liver cancer, and had recently been hospitalized to have a growth in his colon removed.
Sunday afternoon, Gibb’s family made the announcement that ”The family of Robin Gibb, of the Bee Gees, announce with great sadness that Robin passed away today following his long battle with cancer and intestinal surgery. The family have asked that their privacy is respected at this very difficult time.”
Robin and his brother began their music careers in the 1960s, as Beatles-obsessed teenagers in Australia. They were already well known by the late 70s, but their role in the soundtrack of 1977′s Saturday Night Fever established them as one of the biggest disco acts around. Since the group’s founding, they have sold over 120 million records and won six Grammy Awards. The soundtrack for Saturday Night Fever alone went 15X Platinum and changed the way the world felt about music. Their music has never really gone away, enjoying spikes of popularity over the past decades, most notably for me in the roller rinks of the 80s and my grandma’s car. I don’t think I know anyone who hasn’t awkwardly and shyly couple skated at Skateland to “Islands in the Stream”: glancing around to see who’s watching, holding hands but still four feet apart, somehow.
Robin was still active with his music up until his death. In 2011, he collaborated with his son Robin-John on a classical concept album called The Requiem For Titanic, which premiered in April 2012. He was too sick to attend. He had even insinuated that new works coming in 2012, indicating that he might even release some songs from his twin brother Barry’s catalogue.
66.6% of the Gibb boys are gone now, but their music will live on forever. (I am either happy to inform you of that or very, very sorry, depending on your music tastes. Just pick one!) They helped define a generation and touched a lot of lives. They touched MY life when my best friend in high school decided that she LOVED everything they ever recorded and subjected me to many, many hours of their greatest hits at full volume on repeat, wafting out the windows of her 1981 Cutlass Supreme. The BeeGees taught me that no matter how much you love someone, no matter how much you think you have in common with them, there will always be points of contention that you will just have to deal with. Or just sink down into the velour seat and roll your eyes, point to your friend, and make that jerk-off motion if anyone looks at you funny or starts to laugh.
Thank you, BeeGees.