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 last week, Robin Gibb wasn't there.
"Sadly the reports are true that Robin has contracted pneumonia and is in a coma. We are all hoping and praying he will pull through," said a statement on RobinGibb.com this weekend.
"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.