Lebanese singer and composer Melhem Barakat dies after illness

BEIRUT: Renowned Lebanese singer and composer Melhem Barakat passed away Friday at the age of 71 after a battle with cancer.

Barakat is the father of four children including Majed, Waed and Ghinwa from his ex-wife Randa Azar and Melhem Jr. from his second marriage to singer May Hariri.

Melhem Barakat mainly performed in colloquial Lebanese dialect, a feature he always defended throughout his career. Barakat’s stardom spanned the Arab world with thousands of fans in Syria, Jordan and his native country Lebanon.

Born in the town of Kfarshima in the Baabda district of Mount Lebanon, Barakat grew up listening to the music of famed Egyptian composer Mohammad Abdel Wahab.

Barakat’s career had many successes. His best-known works were “Amaren,” “Farah Ennass” and “Habibi Inta.” He has also participated in a number of musicals by the Rahbani Brothers’ as an actor and singer.

Shortly after news of the singer’s death surfaced, Lebanese people rushed to offer their condolences through Twitter using the hashtag #MelhemBarakat.

“Just saw the news; it’s sad to see another Lebanese Legend pass away. May his Soul Rest in Peace,” Mousa Hijazi tweeted, while Rita Michel Hawat said “Heroes get remembered but Legends never die #MelhemBarakat.”

Among the wave of condolence tweets, Lebanese Forces (LF) leader Samir Geagea posted a picture of Barakat on his official Twitter page with a caption reading “Goodbye Melhem Barakat.”