Acclaimed Greek singer Stamatis Kokotas passed away on Saturday at the age of 85.

Kokotas had battled cancer for years, but his health deteriorated rapidly in recent times, while hospitalised in Asklepio in Voula, Athens, Greece’s Health Ministry said.

Having collaborated with leading composers including Stavros Xarhakos, Apostolos Kaldaras, and Georgios Zambetas, Kokotas was a top representative of the Greek laiko genre.

Photo: Eurokinissi/Stelios Misinas.

With his signature beard, he was also among the most recognisable artists both in Greece and for Greeks abroad.

Kokotas toured Australia and some might remember the time he attended East Melbourne’s ‘Evangelismos’ church during one of his visits.

It was at the peak of his career, in 1974, that he celebrated Greek Easter alongside Melburnians at the Annunciation of our Lady church.

As seen in the picture published then in Neos Kosmos, he is captured holding his lambada candle at Easter mass in reverence, side by side with his Greek Australian brethren.

Around 4,500 fans had reportedly squeezed into Festival Hall for a concert held during that visit to enjoy old and new songs.

Songs ‘Yie mou’ and ‘Oneiro apatilo’ are considered two of his most popular hits of the time.

Stamatis Kokotas was born in Athens on March 23, 1937.