by Dan Gibson
In "The Internet Can Be Very Strange" news, Eduard Khil, best known to people who watch YouTube videos as Mr. Trololo, has passed away from complications from a stroke he suffered earlier this year. While Mr. Khil's strange televised singing performance has been seen by millions, he apparently didn't really benefit from his largely anonymous fame:
“The death of the exceptional singer, Eduard Khil, is an irretrievable loss to Russian culture,” Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said Monday in a statement expressing his condolences. “He was truly a people's artist. Several generations of people loved his songs not only in this country but also abroad.”
The baritone learned of his newfound fame courtesy of his grandson, according to a St. Petersburg journalist who knew him personally.
"From his grandson he learned that T-shirts and mugs with his image had become available in the West, and he joked that he never earned a kopeck from them," Mikhail Sadchikov told the Associated Press on Monday. "He was also very optimistic, positive and ironic at the same time."
The kitschy (and oh-so-catchy) wordlessness of the Trololo song, more properly known in rough translation as “I Am So Happy That I’m Finally Coming Home,” interestingly had its roots in Cold War-era history. After the original lyrics about a cowboy riding his horse home in Kentucky didn’t fly with Soviet censors — it’s unclear if the ban was official or unofficial — the words were turned into vocalizations instead.
And decades later, a star was born.
Khil was 77.