French rock star Johnny Hallyday is dead at 74

Johnny Hallyday in 2011                  REUTERS  Charles Platiau

Johnny Hallyday in 2011 REUTERS Charles Platiau

Hallyday died at the age of 74.

Paris transport bosses have renamed a metro station after the legendary French rock star Johnny Hallyday, whose death has plunged France into mourning.

The RATP transport authority temporarily changed the name of the Duroc station near the Invalides where Napoleon is buried to "DuRock Johnny".

But the French presidency stopped short of that, instead granting Hallyday, who lost his long battle with lung cancer on Wednesday, a new kind of ceremony it dubbed a "popular homage".

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Relatively unknown outside of France, the singer sold more than 100 million records and starred in a number of films since his career flourished in 1960.

Speculation is rife that Hallyday, who survived a tough childhood after being abandoned by his alcoholic father, will be given a full state funeral, complete with a procession down the Champs Elysees, the grand ceremonial avenue of the French capital - an honour usually reserved for France's greatest heroes.

"The family and friends of Johnny Hallyday and the President have agreed that as a part of the popular homage", said the Elysee.

"Johnny Hallyday's musicians will accompany him musically" on his final journey, said a statement from the French presidency, without specifying what that would be.

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It was also announced on Thursday that Hallyday would be buried on the French Caribbean island of Saint-Barthelemy, where he owned a house and would regularly spend time.

His villa there was badly damaged by Hurricane Irma in September, but that did not stop the singer from offering to throw open its doors for islanders left homeless by the storm.

Television channels cleared their schedules to broadcast tribute shows to Hallyday, who first came to fame in the late 1950s yet who always managed to adapt to ever-changing musical tastes.

Sarkozy conducted Hallyday's marriage to his fifth wife Laeticia, 42.

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