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Zorba The Greek’s legendary Mikis dies at 96 – Greece can’t believe he was ‘a mere mortal’


His death at his home near the Acropolis in Athens was announced on state television and followed multiple hospital admissions in recent years, mostly for heart treatment.

Announcing the lovable musician’s death, Greece’s culture minister Lina Mendoni said: “Today we lost a part of Greece’s soul. Mikis the teacher, the intellectual, the radical, our Mikis has gone.”

Theodorakis introduced a carefree image of Greece to the world in the 1960s with the soundtrack to Zorba the Greek starring Anthony Quinn.

The movie followed the story of an English writer in Crete whose life is transformed when he meets Alexis Zorba, a gregarious peasant.

The scene when Zorba dances barefoot on the beach became a popular image of Greek culture. 

Theodorakis will also be remembered by many for his stubborn opposition to postwar regimes that persecuted him and outlawed his music.

Politicians, pundits and the press joined Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in paying tribute to the towering man.

The country’s leader said: “We had all forgotten that he was a mere mortal. But his legacy of music, his political activism and his service to the nation in times of crisis lives on.”

Theodorakis was in the resistance to the Nazi occupation of Greece in World War Two and later served as an MP.

He was also a leading figure opposing military rule in Greece from 1967 to 1974, and remained politically active throughout his life.

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