PARIS:- French music icon Johnny Hallyday died Wednesday aged 74 after a battle with lung cancer, plunging the country into mourning for a national treasure whose soft rock lit up the lives of three generations. The leather-clad star broke from France 's classic "chanson" tradition in the late 1950s, emerging as a figure who embodied the rebellious spirit of the post-war era.


While Americans were going wild for Elvis or Jimi Hendrix and Britain was gripped by Beatle-mania, France turned to the Paris-born crooner who borrowed liberally from his English-speaking peers. While his power ballads never won acclaim outside the French-speaking world, he was adored at home and his death on Wednesday devastated fans and sparked an outpouring of grief from fellow artists and politicians.