Bobby Farrell, front man of the 1970s disco group Boney M, has died at the age of 61, his agent has announced. The singer was found dead in a hotel room in St Petersburg, Russia, where he had been performing, John Seine said. Farrell, he continued, had complained of breathing problems before and after a show on Wednesday. The cause of his death has yet to be established. Farrell, the only male member of the popular four-piece, had been due to fly to Rome for a TV show on Friday. Born Alfonso Farrell in Aruba, the singer left his home on the Caribbean island at 15 to work as a sailor. He then travelled to Norway and Germany to pursue a career as a DJ. In 1974 he was chosen to front Boney M, which was put together by German singer and songwriter Frank Farian. It was he who performed much of the male vocals on the group’s hit records, Farrell being more a dancer and showman than a singer. Known for his extravagant costumes, Farrell was often seen with a bare torso and tight-fitting bell-bottom pants.
Boney M had their first hit with Daddy Cool in 1978, scoring a UK number one that same year with Rivers of Babylon. The song sold nearly two million records in Britain alone, where it stayed number one for five weeks. After the group disbanded in 1986 Farrell continued on his own, most recently touring with three female backing singers under the name Bobby Farrell of Boney M. According to Mr Seine the singer had suffered from “heart problems, shortage of breath and problems with his stomach” for the last decade. He described his client as “a fantastic person” but also “quite bizarre”. “He had a big heart but he was explosive,” he said. Farrell is survived by a son and a daughter. – BBC