Legendary Israeli singer Arik Einstein passes away at age of 74

Einstein, considered one of the greatest musicians in Israel, dies from a ruptured aneurysm; PM: Einstein's songs were "the soundtrack to the country."

Arik Einstein 521 (photo credit: Courtesy:PR)
Arik Einstein 521
(photo credit: Courtesy:PR)
Arik Einstein, considered Israel’s most popular singer and songwriter, died at Sourasky Medical Center in Tel Aviv on Tuesday night at age 74, after suffering a ruptured aneurysm.
A Magen David Adom ambulance rushed Einstein to the hospital in the evening from his Tel Aviv home. He was taken into emergency surgery, but died on the operating table just before 11 p.m.
Prof. Gabi Barbash, the director of Sourasky, said doctors fought to save his life, but the damage had already been done.
“Arik Einstein arrived while being resuscitated,” Barbash told reporters at a press conference outside the hospital.
“He died as a result of a ruptured aneurysm. We operated on him, but his condition was too difficult for us to save him.”
Einstein’s family, friends and fans had gathered at the hospital, including his wife, Sima Eliyahu, singers Shalom Hanoch, Israel Gurion and Dori Ben-Ze’ev, composer Miki Gavrielov, producer Zvi Shissel and actor Moni Moshonov.
“This is a huge loss,” Gurion said. “He was a great friend and a great singer. He was our Frank Sinatra.”
A family member called an ambulance after Einstein complained of shortness of breath and collapsed in his home.
Doctors had initially suspected a heart attack.
Israeli leaders issued statements of shock at Einstein’s sudden death.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu expressed sorrow on behalf of the whole nation, calling his songs “the soundtrack of the country.”
“Arik was the greatest of them all,” Netanyahu said. “We all grew up on his songs. You said, ‘Arik Einstein,’ and you said, ‘the Land of Israel.’ He was a wonderful singer and a wonderful person.”
President Shimon Peres said Einstein’s “musical notes will continue to fill the country, even after his passing.”
“He equally excited our first generations and young generations,” Peres said. “He wrote his songs during our difficult days and during our uplifting moments. I loved his songs, and knew what many others know: there was no one else like him.”
Opposition leader Isaac Herzog said Einstein was “one of the greatest artists in the history of the State of Israel.”
“Arik will remain in our hearts and in the heart of the nation,” said Herzog. “His songs accompanied us in our moments of greatest joy and sorrow.”
Einstein, a singer, songwriter and actor who was born in Tel Aviv, is considered one of the greatest musicians in the country.
His partnership with Shalom Hanoch created the first local rock albums. Einstein’s most famous songs include “Ani Ve’ata” (Me and You), “Sa Le’at” (Drive Slowly), Yesh Li Ahava (I Have Love) and “Oof Gozal” (Fly, Little Bird).
Among other things, Einstein was national high-jump champion, a good sportsman and a huge fan of Hapoel Tel Aviv.
After his discharge from military service in 1959, Einstein joined the Green Onion band and the Sambation Theater, singing at first under the stage name Ari Goren.
He released his first solo album in 1960. In the Yarkon Bridge Trio, he performed with Yehoram Gaon, Benny Amdursky and later Israel Gurion.
In 1964, he starred in the iconic comedy film Sallah Shabbati, together with Chaim Topol. In 1966, he released the album, Shar Bishvilekh (Singing for You), and joined The High Windows, in which he performed popular songs.
Two years later, Einstein released the album Mazal Gdi (Capricorn), which was not very successful, but went on to produce the album Puzi with the Churchills, considered the first Israeli rock album.
He took part in the early 1970s cult comedic series, Lul (Chicken Coop), and was known for his sharp sense of humor. His health had deteriorated after he was involved in a serious car accident in 1982.
Einstein recorded songs with a range of top musicians, including Shalom Hanoch, Miki Gabrielov, Shem Tov Levy and Yoni Rechter.
In 2010, Einstein was the most broadcast artist on radio stations in Israel, according to ACUM.
Einstein is survived by four daughters – two with his first wife, Alona, who died of cancer in 2006, and two with his current wife.
Einstein will be laid to rest at the Trumpeldor Cemetery in Tel Aviv at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday.