‘Mr. Trololo,’ Russian singer who found unlikely Internet fame, dead at 77

Eduard Khil, a Russian singer better known as "Mr. Trololo," died on Monday from complications of a stroke. He was 77.

Khil was hospitalized last month in St. Petersburg following a stroke that left him with severe brain damage, according to the Associated Press.

A popular but fading Soviet singing star, Khil rocketed to global stardom in 2010 when a Cold War-era video of his performance of Arkady Ostrovsky's 1966 "I Am Glad, 'Cause I'm Finally Returning Back Home"—with Khil singing "trololo" instead of censored lyrics—became an Internet sensation.

The original lyrics—about an American cowboy riding across a prairie—didn't sit well with Soviet censors, so Khil changed them in the quirky, vocalized version.

The popularity of the 1976 video—which has garnered more than 14 million views on YouTub—led to an international tour for Khil, and inspired numerous parodies.

"From his grandson, he learned that T-shirts and mugs with his image had become available, and he joked that he never earned a kopeck from them," Mikhail Sadchikov, a Russian music critic, told the AP. "He was also very optimistic, positive and ironic at the same time."

Not surprisingly, Khil's name began trending Monday as news of his death spread. According to the Associated Press, Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed his condolences.

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