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Norwegian singer Sverre Kjelsberg dies aged 69

19 June 2016 at 22:49 CEST
Sverre Kjelsberg NRK / Anne Liv Ekroll
The Norwegian singer Sverre Kjelsberg died on Saturday 18 June at the age of 69. He will always be remembered for representing Norway in the 1980 Eurovision Song Contest together with Mattis Hætta, singing Samiid Ædnan, and for being the lead vocalist of The Pussycats, one of the most famous Norwegian rock bands of the 1960s.

Sverre Kjelsberg was born on 18 October, 1946 in Tromsø, Norway. His career started as a rock musician in the 1960s. He became famous for being the lead singer of the band The Pussycats from Tromsø, and later he also sang in the bands Taboo and Clan.

In the 1970s, his music changed towards a more folk-inspired style, and his songs often had political connotations. One of the songs he wrote, Ellinors vise (music by Sverre Kjelsberg, lyrics by Klaus Hagerup), became a hymn of the labour movement, and in the 1990s it was chosen one of Norway's most loved songs. 

His 1980 Eurovision Song Contest entry Samiid Ædnan, which he had written together with Ragnar Olsen, contained a strong message in favour of the native Sami people. He performed it together with Mattis Hætta. You can watch an excerpt of their performance below:

You can also watch the performance of Samiid Ædnan in the Norwegian national selection 1980, check out a photo gallery, and get more information on his career on the NRK website (in Norwegian).

Sverre Kjelsberg's family has confirmed that he passed away this Saturday, the cause of death is yet unknown.

On behalf of the whole Eurovision community, we extend our heartfelt condolences to his family and friends.