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How Bizarre singer Pauly Fuemana dies

Published: 9:49AM Sunday January 31, 2010 Source: ONE News

The singer who shot to fame and fortune with the hit How Bizarre has died at the age of 40.
Pauly Fuemana from the Otara Millionaires Club, or OMC, was behind New Zealand's best selling record, reaching number one in Australia, Canada and parts of Europe.

He died at North Shore Hospital just after 7.00am on Sunday, after a short illness.

A long-time friend Herman Loto Sakarria says Fuemana's family and friends were at his bedside.

"It (his death) will be a huge shock to the music industry," he says.

The hit song How Bizarre was released by the group in 1995 and was named Single of the Year at the 1996 New Zealand Music Awards.

It stormed to the top of the charts around the world, spending three weeks at number one in New Zealand, three weeks in Ireland, and five weeks in Australia.

The deceptively upbeat song - whose title was inspired by a ubiquitous catchphrase - revolved around peculiar encounters with policemen and circus performers.

But behind the catchy melody lurked a darker story, hinting at Fuemana's upbringing in south Auckland.

"I put a lot of hidden stories in there so people could read between the lines and sense it for what it is instead of telling them, 'Yeah, we got pulled over by the cops, and my mate got his head smashed in, and we got arrested, and they found some pot on him,'" Fuemana told Reuters in a 1997 interview.

"He opened the music to right across the world, so the world had a taste of what our style of music is," says his brother Tony Fuimana.

But sometimes catapulting to dizzying heights, can mean a rocky ride down.

"He went from nothing to having all this fame dumped on him and he was meant to cope with it all himself," says Tony.

But Pauly faced his challenges head on. Despite the death of his oldest brother Phil and bankruptcy, the man hailed as the Ghetto Superstar kept his head up.

"Even when he was in hospital he fought right to the end and that's within his career as well," says Tony.

However his fight ended on Sunday morning, where he surrounded by family, his wife and five children.

Share your memories of Pauly Fuemana and tributes for him below:

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  • TOANIUE said on 2010-02-05 @ 21:31 NZDT: Report abusive post


  • mikeymike68 said on 2010-02-02 @ 00:23 NZDT: Report abusive post

    just wanted to pass on condolences to Whanau and friends and can remember how buzzed I was when I heard How Bizarre being used in a couple of movies I was watching! I thought to myself "WoW" thats a song from a kiwi Artist awesome!! NZ music is on the Anyway played a tribute tonight at work for Pauly...Thanks for the buzz!

  • malthusianperil said on 2010-02-01 @ 22:01 NZDT: Report abusive post

    Fun music that grew into beautiful art - talent growing with age. Very sad.

  • mooloo said on 2010-01-31 @ 17:16 NZDT: Report abusive post

    love the music great summer of 95 with your brother phil with love rest in piece pauly godbless

  • AlyC said on 2010-01-31 @ 14:26 NZDT: Report abusive post

    Condolenses to the Fuemana family, how very sad and far to young to leave. Still the most Successful NZ produced album of all time .. That legacy will live on for many years to come Arohanui - Aly Cook