MOSCOW (AP) — Iosef Kobzon, a Russian lawmaker and iconic crooner who was dubbed "the Soviet Sinatra" during his decades-long career, has died. He was 80.

The Russian State Duma, the lower house of the Russian parliament, said in a statement that Kobzon died Thursday.

Russian news agencies quoted his assistant as saying the singer's death resulted from a protracted illness, a typical Russian euphemism for cancer. Kobzon was diagnosed with cancer a decade ago.

Kobzon's striking baritone and repertoire of songs about the heroic achievements of the Soviet people helped make him one of Russia's most venerable singers of the 20th century.

He stopped touring over a decade ago, but still performed an occasional show until recently.