Johnny Hallyday, the Elvis of France, dies at 74

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(CNN) — Johnny Hallyday, France's rock 'n' roll icon has died, the French president's office said in a statement on Wednesday.

He was 74 years old.

Hallyday had announced that he was being treated for cancer last March, CNN affiliate BFM reported.

"We all have a piece of Johnny Hallyday inside everyone of us," a statement from President Emmanuel Macron's office said. "The public today is in tears, and the whole country mourns."

Hallyday's career spanned for more than half a century, filling up stadiums and selling millions of records. He was hardly known by many Americans, but he was called the French Elvis.

"The rock 'n' roll attitude which he brought from the US made him an idol to youth of the sixties," Macron's office said. "When the good days of rock 'n' roll were over, the public could have abandoned him but a new life for him began."

French-Canadian singer Celine Dion expressed her condolences on Twitter.

"I'm very sad to hear the news that Johnny Hallyday passed away. He was a giant in show business...a true icon! My thoughts go out to his family, his loved ones, and to the millions of fans who adored him for many decades. He will be sadly missed, but never forgotten," she wrote.

This story was first published on CNN.com "Johnny Hallyday, the Elvis of France, dies at 74."