Sunday, 12 January, 2003, 06:50 GMT (source BBC NEWS)
Maurice Gibb died
Maurice Gibb
Maurice Gibb had showed initial signs of recovery
Bee Gees star Maurice Gibb has died in a Miami hospital at the age of 53.

The singer had suffered a heart attack during emergency surgery for an intestinal blockage.

A spokesperson for his family said he died in the Mount Sinai Medical Centre's intensive care unit about 0045 local time (0545 GMT).

Twin brother Robin was at Maurice's bedside after flying in from London just an hour before.

Also present were friends and other family members, including older brother Barry, wife Yvonne, and the singer's children.

Maurice had briefly regained consciousness and recognised a number of relatives, but his condition later deteriorated.

His relatives had been warned to expect the worst as his condition had become "disappointing" and it was thought likely he would have to be put on a ventilator and had suffered brain damage.

Paying tribute to Gibb, the family's statement read: "It is with great sadness and sorrow that we regretfully announce the passing of Maurice Gibb. His love, enthusiasm and energy for life remain an inspiration to all of us. We will all deeply miss him."

Stomach pains

Fans had gathered outside the hospital, sending flowers, floral tributes and messages of goodwill to the star.


Robin Gibb
Robin Gibb had flown to his brother's bedside

Doctors operated on the 53-year-old singer and bassist on Thursday after he collapsed at home.

He is understood to have started complaining of stomach pains on Thursday morning.

Former wife Lulu and singer Michael Jackson were among those who sent messages of support when it was announced that the star - who successfully battled alcoholism - was critically ill.

Alcoholism battle

Gibb has been married to Yvonne for more than 25 years, and credited her with his successful battle against alcoholism.

His younger brother Andy died of a heart attack in 1988 at the age of 30, following drink and drug problems.

The Bee Gees performed as a group from an early age, impressing audiences in Manchester before the family emigrated to Australia.

One of their biggest periods was during the disco craze of the 1970s, largely thanks to their contribution to the movie Saturday Night Fever starring John Travolta.

Music journalist Paul Gambaccini told the BBC: "Maurice was an integral part of the number five best-selling act of all time. It's a major loss to music. He was one third of that unique vocal blend, so close it could only have come from brothers."

He added: "He was the high part of the three-part harmony. I'm afraid that this beautiful Bee Gee sound without him can never be produced again."

Writer Patrick Humphries said Maurice Gibb was a tremendous character.

"The great thing about the Bee Gees was that they were successful twice over. They recently had a greatest hits CD and they were one of the few acts that could fill two CDs of great songs.

"What made them unique was the vocal style but also the songwriting. It was a unique sound and their like won't be heard again"

Life devoted to music
Maurice Gibb
Maurice Gibb: part of a pop legend
As a member of the Bee Gees, with world-wide record sales exceeding 110 million, Maurice Gibb enjoyed a place among the top five of the most successful recording artistes of all time, along with The Beatles, Elvis, Michael Jackson and Sir Paul McCartney.

The group wrote and produced six consecutive Number One singles in the United States, while in Britain they wrote chart-topping hits in four consecutive decades.

But the life of Maurice Gibb, the Bee Gees' bass guitarist and keyboard player, mirrored the ups and downs of the group's experience.


Maurice Gibb in 1970
He lived a life of excess in the 1970s

He and his twin, Robin, were born in the Isle of Man on December 22, 1949, but in the 1950s the family moved to Manchester, and in 1955, the precocious trio of Robin, Maurice and their elder brother Barry, made their debut at a cinema, singing and miming the hits of the day.

In 1958, the family moved to Australia, where they wasted no time in promoting their would-be showbiz careers, adopting the name Bee Gees as an abbreviation of the Brothers Gibb.

They had limited success but in 1967, just as they decided to try their luck in Britain, they made the breakthrough and were voted Group of the Year in Australia.

In England, Robert Stigwood, partner of the Beatles' Brian Epstein, became the Bee Gees manager and the hits started coming.

New York Mining Disaster 1941 was followed by Massachusetts and during a 16-month period, the Bee Gees chalked up Number One hits in 15 countries.

Failed marriage

But already, fame and money were accompanied by the familiar perils of drugs, alcohol and feuding. While Robin pursued a solo career, Barry and Maurice spent excessively and married, Maurice to singer, Lulu.


His marriage to Lulu lasted only four years

The couple met in the BBC canteen when they were appearing on Top of the Pops and announced their engagement on Lulu's TV show.

They married in 1969 and lived in exclusive Hampstead, in north London, where they indulged in the trappings of wealth, with Maurice buying a Rolls-Royce, a Bentley and an Aston Martin in the space of a few days.

But Maurice had by now hit the bottle, and when party guests left, the couple rowed. They split up in 1973, but remained friends, appearing on stage together last year, when they sang a duet on An Audience with Lulu.

Robin soon rejoined his brothers and though they had some hits in the early 1970s, sales were falling off until their album, Children of the World, went platinum with three hit singles, including the disco anthem, You Should be Dancing.

It heralded the Bee Gees' greatest triumph, the soundtrack for the film, Saturday Night Fever, featuring funky dance rhythms and high harmonies.

Several of the tracks, including Night Fever and How Deep is Your Love, went to Number One, while the album eventually sold 30 million copies worldwide.


The three Bee Gees
The Bee Gees have enjoyed phenomenal record sales

The group had another chart-topping album in 1979, Spirits Having Flown, but the 1980s brought a decline in their popularity in the United States and for some time, the brothers' careers went their separate ways.

In 1988, younger brother Andy, 30, died after succumbing to drugs, and Maurice, by now, had relapsed into drinking.

But, reunited on stage and record with Barry and Robin, Maurice continued to enjoy intermittent success internationally.

And Maurice found happiness with his second wife Yvonne with whom he had two children, Adam and Samantha.

In the 1990s, he and his brothers received an American Lifetime Achievement Award, a Brit Award and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Maurice Gibb had ensured his place in pop history.