LONDON -- Robin Gibb, one of the three Bee Gees whose falsetto harmonies powered such hits as "Stayin' Alive" and "Night Fever" and defined the flashy disco era, died Sunday, his representative said. He was 62.
Gibb's family announced in a statement Sunday that "Robin passed away today following his long battle with cancer and intestinal surgery," Gibb's representative Doug Wright said.
"The family have asked that their privacy is respected at this very difficult time," it said.
The band of Gibb brothers was famed for the influential 1977 "Saturday Night Fever" soundtrack that became one of the fastest-selling albums of all time with its innovative fusion of harmony and pulsing dance floor rhythms.
The album remains a turning point in popular music history, ending the hard rock era and ushering in a time when dance music ruled supreme.
"Saturday Night Fever" -- actually a compilation album featuring the Bee Gees but including songs by other performers -- represented the pinnacle of Gibb's career, but he enjoyed more than 40 years of prominence as a Bee Gee, as a solo artist, and as a songwriter and producer for other artists.
Gibb was for decades a familiar figure on the pop stage, starting out in the 1960s when the Bee Gees were seen as talented Beatles copycats. They sounded so much like the Beatles at first that there were strong rumors that the Bee Gees' singles were really the Beatles performing under another name.
Many late-'60s bands were quickly forgotten, but the Bee Gees transformed themselves into an enduring A-List powerhouse with the almost unbelievable, and certainly unexpected, success of the song "Stayin' Alive" and others from the "Saturday Night Fever" soundtrack. The movie it accompanied also catapulted the young John Travolta to cinematic stardom.
The Bee Gees went on to sell more than 200 million records and had a long string of successful singles, clearing their way to induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. There are more than 6,000 cover versions of their songs -- a substantial testament to their continued popularity.
The name Bee Gees was short for Brothers Gibb. They consisted of Barry Gibb, the eldest, and twins Robin Gibb and Maurice Gibb, the latter of whom died of intestinal and cardiac problems in 2003.
The brothers' three-part harmonies became their musical signature, particularly in the disco phase, when Barry's matchless falsetto often dominated, and they were renowned for their wide-ranging songwriting and producing skills.
The Gibbs were born in England on the Isle of Man, an island in the Irish Sea, but moved to Australia with their parents in 1958 when they were still young and began their musical career there. They had been born into a musical family, with a father who was a drummer and bandleader and a mother who liked to sing.
After several years of chart success, the Gibbs spent much of the 1980s writing songs and producing records for other artists, working closely with top talents such as Barbra Streisand, Dionne Warwick, Diana Ross and Dolly Parton. They also continued touring and releasing their own records.
Gibb also released more solo albums, including "Secret Agent," during this period.
The band continued in the 1990s, gaining recognition for its body of work with induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Then came Maurice's death in 2003. The surviving brothers announced that the name Bee Gees would be retired with Maurice Gibbs' death, although Robin and Barry did collaborate on projects, and Robin Gibb continued his solo career and extensive touring despite mounting health problems.
One of his final projects was a classical requiem with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra that he co-wrote with his son RJ to mark the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic.