Bulgaria Bids Farewell to Rock Legend Vili Kavaldzhiev
Hundreds of mourners are expected to gather on Thursday at Sofia cemetery to pay their last respects to Vili Kavaldzhiev, one of the legends in Bulgaria's rock music and a fervent supporter of the anti-communist movement.
Kavaldzhiev passed away on December 28 after a long illness. He was 65.
Vili Kavaldzhiev was born August 1, 1945 in the village of Samovit, near the city of Pleven. He started his music career in the 1960s with the bands Vikingite, Lira 70, Impuls, Zlatni Struni, Tangra and others.
The musician, who was widely known as Vili the Voice or the Bulgarian Joe Cocker because of his husky voice, graduated economy and tourism. He worked as a translator from English and his contacts with foreigners drew the ire of the secret police of the communist state. Following the collapse of the regime, Kavaldzhiev turned into one of the most loyal supporters of the right-wing Union of Democratic Forces.
In 1992, his performance of the song "Blizo do men" (Close to Me) won the big award at the international song contest "The Golden Orpheus," held annually in Bulgaria between 1965 and 1999.
Vili Kavaldzhiev suffered from diabetes and lost his battle with the complications of the disease. Even though a charity campaign was launched in the summer in a bid to raise money for his treatment, the singer's family is said to have run into heavy debt.
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