Bobby Rydell, singer and ‘Bye Bye Birdie’ star, dies at 79

(NEXSTAR) – Bobby Rydell, a pop singer and star of the 1963 film “Bye Bye Birdie,” has died at the age of 79.

Rydell’s cause of death was pneumonia, Variety reports. He had been hospitalized in Philadelphia, according to local news outlet WPVI.

The Philadelphia native saw 34 of his singles land on the Billboard Hot 100, with the most well-known being “Wild One.” Others include “Volare,” “The Cha-Cha-Cha,” and “We Got Love,” according to Variety. Rydell was still touring with a performance scheduled for June in Atlantic City.

On the big screen, Rydell starred in the musical film “Bye Bye Birdie” alongside Dick Van Dyke and Ann Margaret. On the small screen, Rydell made appearances in the 1980s hit “The Facts of Life.”

Rydell toured as part of The Golden Boys with Frankie Avalon and Fabian as well. Fans of the film “Grease” may have also caught a nod to Rydell – Rydell High School is named for him, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

In 2012, Rydell underwent a liver and kidney transplant. He was vocal about his struggles with alcoholism after his wife died of breast cancer in the early 2000s. Rydell said the drinking led to the double transplant.

He passed just short of his 80th birthday.

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