János Kóbor, the Kossuth and Liszt Ferenc Prize-winning singer of the Hungarian rock band Omega, has died at the age of 78. The musician was hospitalized on November 9 with new coronavirus infection and had been under care there ever since, but his condition was long thought to be serious.
Born and raised in Budapest, Kóbor founded his first band in high school, and after a couple of small formations, they formed Omega in 1960. In the beginning, their repertoire consisted mainly of Western songs. He also had a degree in architecture from the Technical University of Budapest, but claims never to have worked for a minute as an architect.
Kóbor – known by his nickname 'Mecky' – eventually switched to singing full-time and was involved in the making of all 17 of Omega's albums. The last album, Testament, was released in 2020. Kóbor is one of the few successful Hungarian performers who has spent his entire career as a member of a single band, with only occasional guest appearances here and there. Besides performing, he has worked as a music director, managed a record label and founded a sound equipment rental company.
During his career, he has received almost every major national prize. He shared the Liszt Ferenc Prize in 1987 and the Kossuth Prize in 2013 with the members of Omega. In 1995, Kóbor was awarded the Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary and in 2013 he was made an honorary citizen of Budapest. Kóbor has been married twice, with a son from his first marriage and a daughter from his second.
Omega's manager, András Trunkos confirmed the coronavirus infection to a Hungarian tabloid paper that "all I can say about Mecky's death is that he died because of the coronavirus and its consequences.
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