Today, 16 October, marks a sad anniversary in the history of Macedonian music and Eurovision, as it is ten years ago that singer Toše Proeski passed away, aged 26.
The life of Toše Proeski
Toše Proeski (born Todor Proeski, Prilep, 1981) rose to fame in FYR Macedonia, getting acclaim for his strong vocal capabilities.
Immensely popular in the Balkans, Toše Proeski was set to represent Serbia & Montenegro at the 2003 Eurovision Song Contest in Riga, Latvia, with the song Čija si (Who do you belong to?). However, due to EBU rules, Serbia & Montenegro did not participate that year. Čija si became a great hit in the former Yugoslavian countries.
To the Eurovision stage
In 2004, Toše Proeski became known to the wider European audience when he was chosen by broadcaster MKRTV to represent FYR Macedonia at the Eurovision Song Contest in Istanbul, Turkey. In a special show, the singer performed eight songs, and ultimately Angel si ti (You are an angel) was chosen as Toše Proeski’s entry for Eurovision.
At Eurovision 2004, Toše Proeski performed the English version of Angel si ti, Life. Eventually, the artist placed 14th out of 24 contestants, receiving 47 points. Life is still a favourite among Eurovision fans.
Enjoy Toše Proeski performing Life at the Grand Final of Eurovision 2004:
In 2005, Toše Proeski’s fifth album Po tebe (After you) was a massive hit in the Balkans. Topping the charts in FYR Macedonia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia and Slovenia, it was one of the most successful albums of the Balkans ever.
During his career, Toše Proeski collaborated with many stars from the former Yugoslavian countries, and also recorded a song with Italian star Gianna Nannini, Aria (Air).
Although already a successful artist, the prolific Toše Proeski was also a student at the Skopje Music Academy.
The night of a great loss
In the early morning of 16 October 2007, the music scene suffered a great loss, as Toše Proeski passed away in a car crash in Croatia. He was only 26 years of age.
FYR Macedonia, the entire Balkans and his many fans across Europe were in shock. The government gave Toše Proeski a state funeral, attended by many famous artists, among them former or future Eurovision representatives, including: Kaliopi, Vlado Janevski, Elena Risteska, Adrian Gaxha, Tamara Todevska, Tijana Dapčević, Martin Vučić, Karolina Gočeva, Toni Cetinski, and Željko Joksimović.
Toše Proeski was honoured with the title Honorable Citizen of Macedonia.