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Internet Sensation, The Trololo Man, Dies

Vocalist Eduard Khil, a beloved Russian musician who found worldwide fame through an unlikely internet musical clip, died this week after suffering a stroke. He was 77.

Most people outside of Russia had no idea who Khil was until 2010, when his "Trololo Song" surfaced on the web, capturing millions of fans, including Steven Colbert,. He "highlighted it as a tonic for disappointment", notes the Christian Science Monitor.

In the 1976 video, Khil cheerfully bobs, yodels, chuckles and hums through the wordless song, wearing a brown suit coat, and overly pomaded hair. It's probably safe to guess his mustard color background with the steel props didn't win any art direction awards.

Khil is humming, says the AP, because the actual words to the song weren't likely to survive Soviet Union censors. The tune was co-written with Arkady Ostrovsky and its real title was quite different: "I'm Very Happy Because I Am Finally Coming Home".

Two years ago, Khil told Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty he'd been overwhelmed by emails from new fans ever since the Trololo Song debuted. Many took to Facebook urging the elderly crooner to go on tour again, but he declined; he never took the newfound fame seriously.

Khil had fans at home, and Russian authorities bestowed several awards on him, most recently in 2009. Now Khil's home village plans to name a street after him, says the Moscow Times.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Korva Coleman is a newscaster for NPR.

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