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

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The German singer, songwriter and producer was behind hits such as “Daddy Cool” and “Rasputin”

<p>Peter Bischoff/Getty</p> Frank Farian

Peter Bischoff/Getty

Frank Farian

Frank Farian, the founder of Boney M. and Milli Vanilli, has died. He was 82.

The German singer, songwriter and producer’s family released a statement on Tuesday which was shared with PEOPLE confirming that he had died "peacefully" at his home in Miami, Florida.

Born Franz Reuther in Kirn, western Germany in 1941, Farian began his career in the music industry as a solo artist while also training to be a chef. Per The Guardian, Farian released a Schlager version of the country song "Rocky" in 1976, before going on to found Boney M. that same year.

The disco group, whose original line-up featured Marcia Barrett, Liz Mitchell, Maizie Williams and Bobby Farrell, had several hit singles, including “Daddy Cool,” “Rasputin,” and “Mary's Boy Child.”

<p>Peter Bischoff/Getty </p> Frank Farian with Marcia Barrett from Boney M.

Peter Bischoff/Getty

Frank Farian with Marcia Barrett from Boney M.

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Farian also founded R&B pop duo Milli Vanilli in the 1980s, best known for their songs “Blame It On The Rain” and “Girl You Know It’s True," per the BBC.

The late star, who also worked with the likes of Stevie Wonder and Meat Loaf, is reported to have sold 800 million records worldwide, according to the BBC.

In 2022, Farian revealed to German newspaper Bild that he had undergone heart valve replacement surgery and a "pig heart valve" had been inserted into his chest because his own valve had shrunk with age. He told the publication that the surgery saved his life.

<p>Fryderyk Gabowicz/picture alliance via Getty</p> Frank Farian with Milli Vanilli

Fryderyk Gabowicz/picture alliance via Getty

Frank Farian with Milli Vanilli

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He also told Bild in Nov. 2023, "My heart valve works wonderfully. Mick Jagger also received exactly the same heart valve. I have a good pig in me! And I’m very grateful for that."

However, per U.K. newspaper The Evening Standard, Farian's condition had deteriorated following the procedure — he had lost a lot of weight and was left needing to use a wheelchair.

Meanwhile, Farian's former partner Ingrid “Milli” Segieth, 69, told Bild that she had visited Farian in Miami over the New Year.

"Frank was physically very weak, but was still full of energy," she said. "He was still sitting in the recording studio all day, working on new music.”

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