Robin Gibb was feeling better than he had in more than 10 years.
One of the founding members of the "Bee Gees," along with his brothers Barry and Maurice, the 62-year-old had been working on his first classical concert, "The Titanic Requiem," with his son Robin-John to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the disaster.
Preparing for the concert, he said, distracted him from his "illness to such a degree that I truly believed it might have saved my life," according to the British newspaper, The Sun. In an interview with BBC radio in early February he proclaimed that he had made a "spectacular recovery" from cancer.
But when the Titanic concert debuted in London in March, Robin Gibb wasn't there. He had another setback and fell into a coma after undergoing intestinal surgery. Gibb rallied once again, coming out of the coma to the relief of his family and fans. On May 20 his family announced "with great sadness that that Robin passed away Sunday following his long battle with cancer and intestinal surgery. The family have asked that their privacy is respected at this very difficult time."
After revealing his battle with cancer in October 2010, the disco icon had chemotherapy and underwent surgery to treat a twisted bowel, a congenital condition that killed his twin brother and fellow Bee Gee, Maurice, in 2003. In January of this year Robin's spokesman announced that doctors had found a growth in his colon but the singer was responding well to treatment despite his shockingly thin appearance.
Gibb's wife Dwina, his children and his 65-year old-brother, Barry Gibb, were at his bedside. His mother, 91- year-old Barbara Gibb has now lost her third son. Andy Gibb, the youngest of the four Gibb boys, died unexpectedly at age 30.
"I sometimes wonder if all the tragedies my family has suffered, like Andy and Maurice dying so young and everything that's happened to me recently, is kind of a karmic price we are paying for all the fame and fortune we've had," Robin told the The Sun in March of this year.
The Bee Gees were one of most successful pop groups of all time, selling more than 200 million albums. "Saturday Night Fever" reigned as the top-selling album in history until Michael Jackson's "Thriller" topped it in the 1980's.
Robin was the lead singer of the original trio but Barry Gibb's signature falsetto sound on songs like "Nights on Broadway" dominated the group during their glory days. The group had exceptional success in the late 1960's and the 1970's, becoming a disco sensation with blockbuster hits "Stayin' Alive" and "Night Fever."
The Brother's Gibb, as they were sometimes called, began to sing in harmonization and write songs together as young boys in England. But over their 50-year career they have seen their share of solo adventures, career slumps, suffered through the disco backlash, been the punch line of jokes and endured personal loss.
"Tragedy," a hit song for the Bee Gees in 1979, has hit the family hard since 1988 when the youngest Gibb brother, Andy, a teen idol, died of heart failure at age 30.
Andy was never an actual "Bee Gee" and was best known for his number-one single "I Just Want to Be Your Everything" written by Barry Gibb. Andy struggled with alcohol, drugs and relationships. His failed romance with actress Victoria Principal left him devastated. "I just fell apart and didn't care about anything. I started to do cocaine around the clock -- about $1000 a day", he told People magazine.
His family supported him financially and emotionally, encouraging him to go to the Betty Ford clinic in 1985. After Andy's death Barry Gibb said that if there is anything to be learned it's "that nothing lasts at all." The Bee Gees later recorded "Wish You Were Here" in memory of Andy.
Maurice Gibb told Larry King in 2002 that their father, Hugh Gibb "literally died when Andy died." It was a "guilt thing," according to Robin Gibb who told King that his father was "very bitter for three years" after Andy's death. Hugh Gibb died in 1992.
The passing of Maurice Gibb at age 53 in January 2003 of complications from surgery to fix his twisted intestine stunned the Gibb family, marked the end of the Brothers Gibb and caused a rift between the two surviving members. "It changed us radically," said Barry in an interview with The Telegraph in November 2009. He also revealed that the once simmering rivalry between him and Robin (Robin once walked out of the band because of Barry's dominance) spun out of control after Maurice died. "We've hardly spoken to each other for the past five years. A shock like that either brings everybody together or scatters everybody, and in our family it scattered everyone."
The brothers worked it out eventually and vowed to continue making music together. Maurice was considered the outgoing Bee Gee but he also struggled with alcohol addiction and reportedly relapsed briefly after Andy's death.
With his striking mane of long brown hair, now grey, Barry Gibb, now 65, is the enduring face of the Bee Gees. The eldest boy of the Gibb family holds the title of the second most successful songwriter in history next to Paul McCartney, according to the book of Guinness World Records. He not only penned songs for the group but wrote platinum-selling hits for Dionne Warwick, Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton and Barbra Streisand.
Barry managed to avoid the drug and alcohol problems of his younger brothers, perhaps by distancing himself from the music business. Barry's son Steve, the oldest of his five children, told People magazine in 2001 that his father "keeps mostly to himself. My mom's really his best friend." And when they do socialize, Steve said, it's "mostly with entrepreneur types" rather than musicians. "I don't take the show business part of my life seriously at all," Barry told People, "because I know what it does to people." In recent years he has continued to perform and write songs but has suffered from debilitating arthritis for more than a decade.