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Gregory Lemarchal

Grégory Jean-Paul Lemarchal (13 May 1983 - 30 April 2007) was a French singer who rose to fame by winning the fourth series of the reality TV programme Star Academy France, broadcast on the TF1 television network. He sold over 1 million albums in France, becoming the second highest-selling album of Star Academy France winner, behind Jenifer Bartoli, who sold 1.3 million albums in 2007. Life and career edit: 1983-2002: Early life edit: Lemarchal was born in La Tronche, Isère to Pierre Lemarchal and Laurence. He had a sister named Leslie. At twenty months of age, he was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, a genetic condition which affects the lungs, liver, pancreas and intestine. Growing up near Chambéry, Lemarchal enjoyed sports such as basketball and football, and even considered to be involved in sport journalism. Nevertheless, his passion for music and lifting dance was a force he could not resist. This was proven when he became the winner of Lifting France of Rock 'N' Roll, a rock 'n' roll dancing competition, in 1995 at the age of 12. In 1998, Lemarchal tried out for a talent show, Graines de stars, by doing a solo performance, singing Daniel Balavoine's "Le Chanteur", as well as performing a trio with two other contestants by singing "Foule sentimentale" by Alain Souchon. However, it was unsuccessful. Nevertheless, his brilliant performances in the show catapulted him into fame and turned him into a local celebrity. 2003-2004: Career debut & Star Academy edit: In May 2003, Lemarchal was involved in a comedy musical theater entitled Adam and Eve which was directed by Paul Tordjmann. Sponsored by Sony Music, AB Prod, Radio Scoop and Partouche, the musical theater had ambitious plans to make a provincial tour, before settling at the Le Zénith in Paris. A total of 16 actors and dancers were involved in the production, with Lemarchal taking the lead role as Adam. In 2004, Lemarchal gained international recognition after participated in the fourth season of Star Academy France. Through the recommendation of a friend, he was contacted by the show's producers who needed another male contestant for the show. During his participation in the show, he had the opportunity to perform with French singers such as Yannick Noah, Michel Sardou, and Patrick Bruel and Italian tenor, Andrea Bocelli. On 22 December 2004, Lemarchal was announced as the winner of the season, beating fellow contestant Lucie Bernardoni with a massive vote of 80% to become the first male winner of the series. 2005-2007: Je deviens moi & Olympia 06 edit: In March 2005, Lemarchal released his debut single, "Écris l'histoire", which peaked at number 2 in French Singles Chart and it was held off by Ilona Mitrecey's "Un Monde Parfait" which topped the chart at number 1. It spent 21 weeks in the chart and was certified platinum. Soon after, he released his most anticipated first album, Je deviens moi, where it debuted at number 1 and was certified platinum. The second single of the album was "Je suis en vie". It debuted at number 17 in French Singles Chart. On its second week, it dropped to number 26, before climbing back to position number 21. The song only stayed in the chart for 13 weeks before exiting the chart. The third single, "À Corps perdu", was less successful compared to its predecessors (major French radios refusing to play it on account that it was "too sad"). At the NRJ Music Awards, Lemarchal won the award "Breakthrough Artist of the Year" ("Révélation francophone de l'année") which was held in January 2006. From May to June 2006, he completed his first solo nationwide tour across France, Belgium and Switzerland and a DVD album of his performance, Olympia 06, was released. His first single of the album, "Même si (What You're Made of)" was very successful. The song was a bilingual French-English version recorded by Lemarchal together with the original singer of the song, Lucie Silvas. The single debuted at number 2 in French Singles Chart and was held off by Pakito's "Living on Video". It spent a total of 26 weeks in the chart before dropping out. A live version of the album track "Le feu sur les planches" was then released. Death edit In 2007, Lemarchal announced that his health was deteriorating and that he was ordered by doctors to take a few weeks off in order to recuperate. Nevertheless, in the morning of 30 April 2007, he died of complications while waiting for a lung transplant, he was just 2 weeks shy until turning 24. The death of Lemarchal became news headlines all week and more than five thousand fans went to Chambéry to pay their respect on the day of his funeral. On 4 May 2007, a special television programme entitled "Grégory : La voix d'un ange" was broadcast on TF1 to commemorate his life and more than 10.5 million viewers were asked to donate money to raise funds to fight cystic fibrosis and help progress research into finding a cure. To date, more than 7.5 million euros have been raised for cystic fibrosis causes, in memory of Lemarchal. A controversy emerged following the death of Lemarchal when Frédéric Martin, a humorist, was fined 4,000 euros including 2,000 of damages to the family of Lemarchal for referring to Lemarchal by the name of his illness on national television. 2007-2009: Posthumous career edit: Lemarchal's posthumous album, La Voix d'un ange, was released one month and a half after his death by record company Universal Music Group France, with profits going towards the Association Grégory Lemarchal. This has raised a lot of controversy and the record company was accused of cashing in on his demise. Despite the ongoing controversy, the album was successful, topping both French Digital Chart and French Albums Chart as well as topping Belgian (Wallonia) Albums Chart at number one. The album was certified Platinum from the IFPI for selling more than 1 million copies across Europe. Three singles were released from the album. The song "De temps en temps" debuted at number 1 at French Singles Chart and became Lemarchal's first number 1 single in the chart, as well as in the Belgian (Wallonia) Singles Chart. On its second week on French Singles Chart, it dropped to number 2. The song spent a total of 21 weeks before quitting the chart. The success of the single eventually garnered him a posthumous award of Vincent Scotto by SACEM, the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada. The third single, "Restons Amis" debuted at number 9 in French Singles Chart and stayed in the chart for a total of 16 weeks. In November 2009, a compilation entitled Rêves was released, containing all Lemarchal's previous hit singles plus two unpublished songs. The album started at number 1 in France. Legacy edit: Following the death of Lemarchal, the Association Grégory Lemarchal was founded on 7 June 2007 by his family. The organization is dedicated to improve the lives of cystic fibrosis sufferers and their families through information, research, and improving the public perception of cystic fibrosis. The Association Grégory Lemarchal has launched many activities, including aid and assistance of patients affected by cystic fibrosis and their families with the purpose to improve their quality of life. In November 2007, Lemarchal's sister Leslie, published "Mon frère, l'artiste" ("My brother, an artist", Michel Lafon Editions)", which is a collection of photographs of Lemarchal whose copyright is paid to the Association Grégory Lemarchal. Later that year, the production and contestants of Star Academy in France paid a tribute to Lemarchal through a show titled "La voix d'un ange". The show raised 6.3 million euros which went to the Association Grégory Lemarchal.

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