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Friday December 14th, 2018 12:22AM

Croatia mourns death of popular singer loved in all Balkans

By The Associated Press

SPLIT, Croatia (AP) — Croatia held a national day of mourning on Tuesday to mark the death of Oliver Dragojevic, one of the most popular pop singers in the former Yugoslavia who was adored for his romantic songs celebrating love and the Adriatic Sea.

Commemorating events are held in Split, on the Adriatic coast, and later Tuesday thousands are expected to bid farewell as Dragojevic's body leaves on a boat for a burial Wednesday at his native island of Korcula.

Dragojevic died Sunday at age 70. He remained popular in the former Yugoslavia even after the country broke up in a war in the 1990s.

Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic told The Associated Press that "Oliver is really unique, the best."

"In the last 50 years, he left a mark at the very heart of our society's culture, identity and music," said Plenkovic. "He is part of our best moments and memories since our childhood ... we are happy to have lived the same time he did."

Many people cried during a somber gathering attended by Croatia's top officials at the Split theatre. The crowd stood up and sang one of Dragojevic's songs and applauded for several minutes.

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