Since the last Eurovision Song Contest, we’ve said farewell to faces who once graced our stage. With the final of the 64th contest later today, we look back on those we’ve lost in the last twelve months.
Portugal lost Dina on 12 April 2019. Born Ondina Maria Farias Veloso, she entered the Portuguese Festival da Canção, in 1980 and 1982, before winning her Eurovision ticket in 1992, with “Amor d’água fresca”. Dina went on to release six albums and composed music for films and television. She continued to perform, and in September 2009 celebrated 30 years in the music busines. Dina died aged 62, following a long battle with pulmonary fibrosis.
On 28 December 2018, news reached us that Marianna Toli who represented Greece in 1977 died of cancer. She performed on stage in London alongside Pashalis Arvanitidis, Robert Williams and Bessy Argyraki. ‘Mathima solfege‘ finished in fifth place.
Sonny Knowles, the Irish crooner, died aged 86 on 15 November 2018. He’s fondly remembered by Eurovision fans for his double entry in the 1966 Irish National Song Contest where he scored nul points for both songs – ‘The menace from Ennis‘ and ‘Chuaigh mé suas don chluiche mór‘.
One of Ireland’s most renowned composers and arrangers, Professor Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin, died after a long illness on 7 November 2018. He was responsible for and played the piano on stage during ‘Lumen’, the interval act from the 1995 contest held at the Point Theatre in Dublin.
Following an extended period of ill health, Maria Guinot who represented Portugal at the 1984 contest died on 3 November 2018 at the age of 73. She sang ‘Silêncio e tanta gente‘ in Luxembourg and finished 11th.
Valters Fridenbergs, one half of the duo Walters & Kazha, died on October 17, 2018 at the age of 30. The duo represented Latvia in 2005 with the song ‘The war is not over‘ and finished in fifth place. Valters was diagnosed with cancer in 2016.
Dutch singer Anneke Gronloh represented the Netherlands at the Eurovision Song contest in 1964. In Copenhagen, she performed ‘Jij bent mijn leven‘. Her management released a statement to announce the singer passed away on 14 September 2018, after a long illness.
On August 26 2018, British Eurovision songwriter Tony Hiller passed away. Aged 91, he was best known for writing and producing Brotherhood of Man’s winning 1976 Eurovision entry ‘Save all your kisses for me‘.
Vlatko Ilievski, the Macedonian singer who took part in the 2011 Contest with the song ‘Rusinka‘ was found dead aged 33 in a car on 7 July 2018 in Skopje. The cause of death remains unknown.
Teddy Johnson, one half of the United Kingdom’s Eurovision 1959 duo, passed away aged 98 on 7 June 2018. Teddy was known for performing at the 1959 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest with his wife, Pearl Carr with ‘Sing little birdie‘.
Jürgen Marcus who represented Luxembourg at the Eurovision Song Contest 1976 died at the age of 69 on 29 May 2018 after a long illness. The singer had been suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease since 2012 and had retired from public life just over five years before.
Image Credits: RTE.