31 Dec 2010

Boney M frontman found dead

9:23 am on 31 December 2010

Bobby Farrell, frontman of the 1970s disco group Boney M, has died at the age of 61.

His agent, John Seine, says the singer was found dead in a Russian hotel room in St Petersburg where he had been performing, the BBC reports.

Mr Seine says Farrell had complained of breathing problems before and after a show on Wednesday. The cause of his death has yet to be established.

Farrell was the only male member of the popular four-piece and had been due to fly to Rome for a television show on Friday.

Born Alfonso Farrell in Aruba, the singer left his home on the Caribbean island at 15 to work as a sailor before travelling to Norway and Germany to pursue a career as a DJ, the BBC reports.

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 and had other hits including Rivers of Babylon, Brown Girl in the Ring and Ma Baker.

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.