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Frank Farian, Founder of Milli Vanilli and Boney M, Dead at 82

“His music will live on. We can never deny the happiness and joy it brought into this world,” Milli Vanilli’s Fab Morvan said in a statement

Frank Farian — the founder of groups Boney M. and Milli Vanilli — has died at the age of 82. The German producer’s agency released a statement Tuesday confirming that Farian had died peacefully at his home in Miami.

Although his cause of death was not immediately revealed, Farian said that he had gone through heart valve replacement surgery in 2022. He told the magazine Bild at the time that the surgery saved his life.

Farian founded R&B pop duo Milli Vanilli — comprised of Fab Morvan and Rob Pilatus — in the late 1980s. The group earned massive hits with “Blame It on the Rain,” “Girl You Know It’s True,” and “I’m Gonna Miss You,” but was embroiled in controversy after it was discovered that Morvan and Pilatus had lip-synced their songs with session singers. Milli Vanilli was one of the most popular pop acts of the time and even earned a Grammy for Best New Artist at the 1990 awards show. (The award was later revoked and the duo gave it back.)

“My condolences to his family,” Morvan said in a statement to The Guardian. “His music will live on. We can never deny the happiness and joy it brought into this world.” (Pilatus died by suicide in 1998 at age 32.)

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Before Milli Vanilli, Farian founded the disco-pop group Boney M. — comprising Liz Mitchell, Marcia Barrett, Maizie Williams, and Bobby Farrell — in the 1970s. Farian was the group’s main songwriter, which released tracks such as “Daddy Cool,” “Rasputin,” “Sunny,” and “Rivers of Babylon.” The intro to “Rasputin” has had a resurgence on TikTok over the last several years.

After Milli Vanilli, Farian put together the group No Mercy in 1995 with twin brothers Ariel and Gabriel Hernandez and Marty Cintron. The trio released the album My Promise in 1996, More in 1998, and their last album Day by Day in 2007. Among their biggest hits were “Where Do You Go,” “When I Die,” and “Missing.”

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