BMI songwriter Maurice Gibb, harmony-singing member of the Bee Gees, died early Sunday (1/12) from cardiac arrest before emergency surgery for an intestinal blockage at Mount Sinai Hospital in Miami. He was 53.
Maurice Gibb is seen here at the 2002 BMI Latin Awards receiving a certificate from BMI’s Frances Preston for the Bee Gees’ penned Oscar de la Hoya hit “Ven A Mi.”
The group’s bassist, keyboardist and occasional drummer, Gibb’s background vocals played a major role in the instantly recognizable falsetto harmonies for which the Bee Gees are renowned.
The British-born brothers began singing together in 1955 at the encouragement of their drummer and bandleader father, Hugh Gibb, and their mother Barbara, who was a singer. Short for the Brothers Gibb (Maurice, fraternal twin brother Robin and older brother Barry), the Bee Gees got their start in 1958 playing talent shows and hosting a weekly TV show in Australia. They had their first string of hits between 1967 and 1971 after moving back to England, with ballads like “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart” and “To Love Somebody.” They are perhaps most famous for the soundtrack to the 1977 movie “Saturday Night Fever,” which included some of the biggest hits of the disco era like “You Should Be Dancing” and “Stayin’ Alive.” That soundtrack later became the best-selling album of its time (until it was surpassed by Michael Jackson’s Thriller in 1982).
Gibb is survived by his second wife, Yvonne Spenceley, and their two children, Adam and Samantha, as well as the other Bee Gees and their mother, Barbara. The Bee Gees’ younger brother, Andy Gibb, died in 1988 at the age of 30 from a heart infection.