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Eduard Anatolyevich Khil (Russian: Эдуард Анатольевич Хиль; born 4 September 1934), sometimes anglicised as Edward Hill, is a Russian baritone singer and a recipient of the People's Artist Award of the RSFSR.
Eduard Khil was born on 4 September 1934 in Smolensk to Anatoly Vasilievich Khil, a mechanic, and Helena Pavlovna Kalugina, an accountant. Life as a child was hard on Khil, with his family breaking up and was brought up by his mother. During the Great Patriotic War (WWII Eastern Front), his kindergarten was bombed, he was separated from his mother and evacuated to Bekovo, Penza Oblast where he ended up in a children's home, which lacked basic facilities, such as food. Despite this Khil regularly performed in front of wounded soldiers in the nearby hospital. He was reunited with his mother in 1943 when Smolensk was liberated from Nazi Germany and in 1949 moved to Leningrad, where he enrolled and then graduated from printing college. In 1955, Khil enrolled to the Leningrad Conservatory, where he studied under direction of Evgeni Olkhovksky and Zoya Lodyi. He graduated in 1960. During his studies, he began performing various lead operatic roles, including Figaro in "The Marriage of Figaro".
Career and successAfter graduating he fell in love with pop music after attending a K.I. Shulzenko concert, and started to perform popular music. This led to him winning several prizes in the next two decades. He won the "All Russian Competition for Performers" in 1962 and was invited to perform at the "Festival of Soviet Songs" in 1965. He attained second place in Sopot International Song Festival in 1965. In 1967, composer Andrey Petrov won the USSR State Prize for a collection of songs performed mainly by Khil, and in 1968 Khil won the Meritorious Artist of the RSFSR. The Order of the Red Banner of Labour was awarded in 1971, and Russia's most prestigious artist award, the People's Artist of Russia, was awarded to Khil in 1974. He was so successful that the public called him the 'Symbol of Leningrad'.
Khil performing at the 65th anniversary Victory Day Parade (St. Petersburg) in 2010In 1977-1979, Khil taught solo singing at the Saint Petersburg State Theatre Arts Academy.
Khil has toured in over 80 countries and currently lives at Tolstoy House (Толстовский дом) in St. Petersburg.
After his singing career faded in the early 1990s, Khil re-entered private life and worked in a cafe in Paris, singing cabaret. Since 1997, Khil has been involved with his son in a joint project with the rock group Prepinaki.
For his 75th birthday, Khil was awarded the Order of Merit for the Fatherland, 4th Class in 2009 by Russia and in 2010 performed in St. Petersburg's Victory Day Parade.
After retiring from a singing career, Khil slowly faded into obscurity in his later years. In 2010, Khil reclaimed the spotlight when he became the subject of the viral Trololo internet meme on YouTube, thanks to the spreading popularity of a single-serving website "Trololololololololololo.com" featuring a 1976 video of a vocalised version of the song, "I Am Glad I'm Finally Going Home"[note 1] (Я очень рад, ведь я, наконец, возвращаюсь домой).
Famed Soviet singer Eduard Khil, known to the world as Mr. Trololo has died in St. Petersburg after a stroke he endured in late May. The 77-year-old had been performing right up until recently.
The nickname of the late Soviet stage star and internet sensation has rocketed into the most popular worldwide trends on Twitter as music-lovers around the world mourn his death.
Khil will be buried on Thursday June 7 in St. Petersburg's Smolensky cemetery, the singer's son Dmitry Khil says.
In 2010, the singer's half-century-old hit brought Khil international attention by his vintage video to the wordless song I Am So Happy to Finally Be Back Home. As of now the original video has well over 12 million views on YouTube.
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