The Internet lost one of its greatest viral sensations today when Eduard Khil passed away at the age of 77 from complications of a stroke. Khil first achieved celebrity as a musician in Russia in the 1960s and 1970s, but it wasn’t until decades later that he would become a true international superstar.
In 2010, footage of Khil singing Arkady Ostrovsky’s 1966 “I Am Glad, ‘Cause I’m Finally Returning Back Home” surfaced online. Instead of singing the lyrics normally, Khil performed the song in the “vocaliz” style, a non-lexical form of singing.
The original video was shot in 1976, but it resurfaced in 2010 and exploded in popularity. The video now has over 14 million views on YouTube and even resulted in a tour for Khil. The unfortunate aspect of Internet celebrity also surfaced as Khil’s relatives would report back to him that they saw his face and namesake plastered over various trinkets, yet none of those proceeds went to the singer or his family.
In a fitting tribute to his online popularity, Khil’s name started trending online again as news of his death spread. Farewell, Mr. Trololo. We will miss you and the joy you brought the world with your unusual but singular style.