Donetsk, Aug 30 - DAN. Donetsk People’s Republic Head Alexander Zakharchenko expressed his condolences on the death of USSR People’s Artist, DPR Hero Iosif Kobzon who died on Thursday aged 81.

“I express, on my own behalf and on behalf of Donbass residents my heartfelt condolences on the death of the outstanding person, DPR Hero, patriot and brilliant artist Iosif Kobzon to his relatives,” Zakharchenko said in a statement received by the Donetsk News Agency.

He noted that Kobzon’s demise was a great loss to the Donetsk People’s Republic.  “This is an irrecoverable loss for all of us,” the DPR leader said. “The passing of our fellow countryman who has supported Donbass by word and deed is the passing of a whole epoch.”

"Iosif Davydovich’s death was a profound shock to all of us. Donbass lost of its great sons... We’ll always remember him in our hearts. We’ll cherish his memory,” Zakharchnenko said.

Kobzon is one of Russia’s most popular artists. Over his career. we received hundreds of awards, titles and money prizes. His most significant awards are People’s Artist of the USSR (awarded on September 30, 1987), Hero of Socialist Labour of the Russian Federation (April 21, 2016) and the Order for Services to the Fatherland, 1st Class (June 25, 2012).

Kobzon was born in the town of Chasov Yar, Artyomovskiy District, Donetsk Region in 1937. He openly voiced his support for the choice made by Donbass people after the conflict broke out in the region and repeatedly performed in Donetsk. On February 23, 2015, he was awarded the title of DPR People’s Artist and on August 29, 2015 he was awarded the title of DPR Hero.*jk