Johnny Hallyday, French rock star -- dubbed the "French Elvis" -- passes away at 74 after battle with lung cancer

France's biggest rock star Johnny Hallyday -- often referred to as the "French Elvis Presley" --passed away at 74 after battling lung cancer.

In a statement released to Agence France Presse on Dec 6, 2017 by the singer’s wife, Laeticia, it said: "Johnny Hallyday has left us. I write these words without believing them. But yet, it’s true. My man is no longer with us”.

Hallyday, who issued his first recording in 1959 and sold more than 100 million albums over the six decades, had been preparing a new album and stage tour when news of his treatment for respiratory difficulties in a Paris hospital was announced in the summer of 2017. A French national symbol, he was awarded the Legion of Honor in 1997 and the following year sang La Marseillaise at the soccer World Cup hosted -- and won -- by France.