Legendary Russian poet Nikolay Dobronravov, who wrote the lyrics for the theme song of the 1980 Moscow Summer Olympics and other many other hits, has died at the age of 94, his friends and colleagues announced on social media.
Dobronravov passed away at a hospital in Moscow early on Sunday after a lengthy illness, sources close to the poet told Moskovsky Komsomolets newspaper.
The lyricist and his wife, composer Aleksandra Pakhmutova, 93, were hospitalized with Covid-19 in late 2020. They were discharged after a month, but the poet never fully recovered after the virus. His health kept deteriorating and he could barely walk in recent months, sources said.
The song “Goodbye, our affectionate Misha!,” co-written by Dobronravov and Pakhmutova, accompanied one of the most iconic moments in Olympic history. It was performed at the closing ceremony of the Moscow Olympics in 1980 as the giant inflatable figure of the Games’ mascot – a bear, named Misha – took to the skies from Luzhniki stadium. The live broadcast from the Soviet capital captured numerous locals and foreign guests in the stands shedding tears.
Dobronravov and Pakhmutova, who were married in 1956, wrote numerous songs together, which were performed by the country’s most popular singers and are well-known and loved by Russians of all ages. He also worked with other famous composers.
The Russian cities of Yaroslavl, Vorkuta, and Magnitogorsk have each chosen one of Dobronravov’s songs as their official anthems.
Dobronravov’s death is “an irretrievable loss,” Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin wrote on his Telegram page as he offered condolences to the poet’s family.
His songs “have always given strength [to people], being with them in moments of sorrow and in joy,” he wrote.
The poet will be laid to rest in Novodevichy Cemetery in the Russian capital, Sobyanin said.
A lot famous Russian artists are buried at the cemetery, including writers Anton Chekov and Mikhail Bulgakov, as well as composers Dmitry Shostakovich and Sergey Prokofiev.