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Turkey Mourns Singing Star

February 7, 1999

ISTANBUL, Turkey (AP) _ The death of a pop star whose songs were based on traditional Turkish music has brought together tens of thousands of people from all walks of life and ideology.

Singer and songwriter Baris Manco, whose hippy-style long hair and long pointy mustache became his trademark, died last week in hospital of a heart attack. He was 56.

Fans young and old held vigils outside his home and the cemetery where he is buried.

``People were looking for a hero that was capable of uniting them. The leftist, the rightist, the pro-Islamic, bowed in respect in front of his body,″ wrote Mehmet Yilmaz, a columnist for daily Radikal.

Several municipalities across the country have renamed streets, parks and bridges after the musician, while people rushed out to buy his music.

``We grew up with his songs. It is hard to imagine life without him,″ said Can Yozgatli, 26, a student.

Born in Istanbul in 1943, Manco studied fine arts in Belgium. He rose to fame in the 70′s and 80′s. Some of his songs were translated into other languages and sung by foreign artists. He also had a following in Japan where he toured.

Manco had not composed any chart-topping music in recent years, but instead concentrated on a popular TV program made for children. In it he traveled to remote parts of the world, preaching friendship.

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