General News

Family Questions Bee Gee Maurice Gibb's Death

By:
Jan 13, 2003 | 10:53am EST

The family of Bee Gees singer Maurice Gibb, who died Sunday at the age of 53 following abdominal surgery at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach, is questioning the hospital's treatment at the time of his death, Reuters reports.

"The fact that they had to operate on Maurice during the shock of cardiac arrest is very questionable," his brother Barry Gibb, 55, told the BBC late Sunday. "We will pursue every factor, every element, every second of the timeline of the final hours of Maurice's life."

Gibb was rushed to Mount Sinai Medical Center Thursday after intense stomach pain caused him to collapse at his Miami home. According to the hospital, the singer experienced cardiac arrest before his surgery for an intestinal blockage.

Barry said he had been told that Maurice's intestines were twisted because of a congenital defect and that doctors had removed 80 percent of his stomach.

After the operation and until he died, Gibb was listed in critical but stable condition.

The Bee Gees (for Brothers Gibb) consisted of Maurice, his twin Robin and brother Barry. The trio formed in the late 1960s, but broke up briefly in 1970 after producing early hits such as "To Love Somebody" and "Words."

After a series of commercial flops, their popularity rebounded with the 1977 soundtrack to the film Saturday Night Fever, which included the hits "Stayin' Alive," "How Deep Is Your Love" and "Night Fever." The album went on to sell 40 million copies and the group was later inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Maurice, who sang and played keyboards and bass for the group, became a heavy drinker and dabbled with cocaine. He sobered up in the early 1990s and sported an Alcoholics Anonymous lapel badge.

The brothers moved to South Florida in the 1970s and all lived on the same street until last year when Maurice bought a 13-bedroom waterfront mansion. He opened a paintball shop, Commander Mo's, in North Miami Beach last June.

"He was extremely talented," recording engineer Dennis Hetzendorfer told the Miami Herald. "People don't realize, of the three, he had the second harmony, which is the hardest note to find."

Hetzendorfer began working with the Bee Gees in 1978 at the Miami Beach studio Criteria, where they cut the Spirits Having Flown album.

"He was a big kid at heart and his importance to the group is unexplainable," Hetzendorfer added. "Nothing sounds like the three of them together. It's a sound that can't be taught and you can't duplicate. This was three brothers singing together their whole lives."

Barry told the BBC that the group would carry on, despite Maurice's death. "The Bee Gees will not stop here. The Bee Gees will not disintegrate because we've lost Mo," he said.

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