Singer Jules Jean Vanobbergen, better known as Lange Jojo, has died at the age of 85 after a long illness. He is known for popular hits such as ‘On a soif’, ‘Jules César’, ‘Victor le footbaliste’ and ‘E viva Mexico’.
Vanobbergen’s archivist and the manager of his museum, Cyril Forthomme, reported his death to Belga around 2 a.m. on Wednesday.
“Belgium is losing a great man in the music world. The king of the atmosphere, a popular icon, is no more,” said Forthomme, who was also good friends with the singer. “He will be remembered for his songs, which are played to sing, dance and celebrate.” Lange Jojo had been ill for some time.
First appearance as a 3-year-old
Jules Jean Vanobbergen was born on July 6, 1936 in Ixelles. At the age of 3 he gave his first performance in a bistro in Koekelberg. He told this himself in his biography published in 2015.
He spent his childhood and youth in Molenbeek. At sixteen he left school to go to the academy because he wanted to become a painter. Vanobbergen’s nickname, Grand Jojo in French, Lange Jojo in Dutch, was given to him during his school days.
His musical career started in the late 1960s. Lange Jojo is known for popular hits such as We are thirsty, Julius Caesar, Victor the footbalist on And long live Mexico. He came up with the latter number when the Red Devils went to the World Cup in Mexico in 1986.
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He was named an honorary citizen of Brussels in 2015. And in 2016 to honorary Marollien. During the ceremony, the singer recalled some anecdotes from his childhood in the Marolles. “Being first named an honorary citizen of the city of Brussels and then an honorary Marollien: this is the icing on the cake and I feel very honoured. I have lost my heart to this neighborhood and my roots are here. The Marolles are part of our wonderful Brussels folklore that we must preserve”, said the singer.
Lange Jojo decided in June this year to to put an end to his musical career. “It is over. I don’t want to be on stage anymore. All planned concerts have been cancelled. And I’m retiring,” he said at the time.
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