Balkan popstar dies in car crash in Croatia

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SKOPJE, Oct 16 (Reuters) Macedonia called for a day of mourning after the singer Tose Proeski, one of the biggest pop stars in the Balkans, was killed in a car crash on a Croatian motorway early today morning.

In the Macedonian capital Skopje, people were crying in the streets and school children were sobbing in their classrooms. A day of national mourning was called tomorrow.

State television interrupted its regular programme with breaking news bulletins of the accident in Croatia, and radio stations started playing back-to-back songs from his albums.

Croatian state news agency Hina reported Proeski's vehicle hit the back of a truck before crashing into the protective fence on the Zagreb to Belgrade highway near Nova Gradiska, some 120 km east of Zagreb. The singer, 26, was asleep in the passenger seat. Two other people in the car were injured.

Proeski started his career at 15, releasing his debut album at 18. He had several number one hits in Macedonia, Serbia, Bosnia and Croatia, with songs such as ''Cija si'' (Whose Are You) and ''Ako me poglednes vo oci'' (If You Look Me In The Eyes).

He sang in Macedonian and Serbian, represented Macedonia in the Eurovision song contest in 2004 and was regularly voted as one of the most popular artists in the former Yugoslav states.

REUTERS GL PM1605

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