Eurovisionista would like to take the opportunity to pay tribute to those associated with the Eurovision Song Contest who died during 2012. In 2012 we lost not only some performers that graced the stage but also conductors, presenters and long-time commentators.

On January 1st 2012, it was announced that Anders Frandsen had been found dead at his Hellerup apartment. He had represented Denmark at the 1991 contest in Rome with the song Lige der hvor hjertet slår and finished in a disappointing nineteenth place. However, he returned to Dansk Melodi Grand Prix in 1992 as the host and remained on Danish TV for most of the 1990s. He died of carbon monoxide poisoning at the age of 51. A suicide note was later found.

Anders Frandsen performing Lige der hvor hjertet slår in Rome, 1991

Norbert Berger passed away on July 14th 2012. He represented Germany at the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest as part of the duo Cindy & Bert which was comprised of himself and his wife Cindy Berger. Cindy & Bert first took part at the Eurovision Song Contest selection in 1972 but they finished as the runner-up. The duo returned in 1973 but even with two songs in the line up they could only manage eighth and ninth place. Cindy & Bert did not have to go through a song selection in 1974 as they were internally selected along with their song Die Sommermelodie to represent Germany in Brighton.

The preview video for Die Sommermelodie - the German Eurovision entry in 1974

The Spanish Crooner José Guardiola was another Eurovision performer who passed away in 2012. The singer who represented Spain at the Eurovision Song Contest 1963 in London with the song Algo Prodigioso (Something Marvellous) passed away aged 81 on the 9th of April 2012.

José Guardiola performing Algo Prodigioso at BBC Television Centre in 1963

In 2012, we said goodbye to two women who have presented the Eurovision Song Contest. Helga Vlahović, the Croatian television host and presenter of the 1990 contest in Zagreb died after a three-year battle with cancer on February 27th. As well as hosting the contest after Yugoslavia's 1989 win, Vlahović had also been the Yugoslav jury's spokesperson on numerous occasions. The most famous of these occasions was in 1981 when she was asked for the scores, she proclaimed "I don't have it." causing much laughter in the Dublin auditorium.

The other presenter of the Eurovision Song Contest that passed away in 2012 was Hannie Lips. The Dutch television announcer presented the third Eurovision Song Contest when it was held in Hilversum in the Netherlands following Corry Brokken's win in 1957. She went on to host the 1960 and 1962 editions of Nationaal Songfestival and died aged 88 on the 19th of November 2012.  

As well as two former hosts of the contest, two long-standing commentators also passed away this year. Spain's 'La voz de Eurovisión' (The voice of Eurovision), José Luis Uribarri died on the 23rd of July, five days after suffering a brain hemorrhage. He was 75 years old. The broadcaster was a familiar face and voice to Spanish Eurovision fans. He first commentated on the 1969 contest which was the first and only time to date that Spain has hosted the event. He was also the Spanish commentator a further seventeen times, the last being in 2010.

Francophone Belgium's long-time commentator Jean-Pierre Hautier also passed away on the 12th October at the age of 56. Hautier had been the voice of the Eurovision Song Contest for Belgian broadcaster RTBF since 1994. He shared the commentary booth with the only Belgian winner Sandra Kim on the tenth anniversary of her win in 1996. Jean-Pierre Hautier gave his last commentary at the 2012 contest in Baku.

Noel Kelehan, the conductor to many of the Irish Eurovision entries between 1966 and his retirement in 1998, passed away after a long illness on the 6th of February. He conducted the orchestra for five of Ireland's seven winning entries and was a familiar face to Eurovision fans over the years.

Johnny Logan's winning song, Hold Me Now - conducted by Noel Kelehan

Juan Carlos Calderón, the famous Spanish singer and songwriter died on November 25th 2012. Calderón's most notable contribution to the Eurovision Song Contest was the song Eres Tú. The song, performed by Mocedades, finished in second place at the 1973 contest in Luxembourg. Although it did not win the trophy it became a worldwide hit and peaked at #9 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States. Juan Carlos Calderón also wrote three more Spanish Eurovision entries and worked with some of the biggest Spanish recording artists.

Eres Tú - voted one of the best Eurovision songs of all time by fans in 2005

The Swedish songwriter Marcus Englöf who co-wrote Yassou Maria for Greece in 2007 and Always for Azerbaijan in 2009 died at the very young age of 34 in June 2012. His death brought tributes from all over the Swedish and Greek music industries including Eurovision stars Helena Paparizou and Anna Vissi who both thanked Englöf for the success they had acheived with songs written by him.

Those who also left us in 2012 were Frode Thingnæs, the composer of the Norwegian Eurovision entries in 1974 and 1976 performed by Anne-Karine Strøm. And Kerry McGregor, the singer who came second to Katrina and the Waves at the UK national final in 1997 passed away in January after a battle with cancer.

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