Eurovision candidate Hayko, who represented Armenia in 2007, has died at the age of 48.

The singer-songwriter, whose full name was Hayk Hakobyan, died today in the Armenian capital of Yerevan after falling ill with COVID-19 last week.

The Eurovision Song Contest paid tribute to Hayko on Twitter, writing “You Will Always Be In Our Hearts” alongside his performance of Eurovision’s 2007 “Anytime You Need”.

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan also offered his condolences on the news of Hayko’s death, describing him as “one of the brilliant representatives of modern Armenian music”.

“His works are loved by people and his romances hold a special place in the rich heritage of Armenian music,” he said. “Hayko’s music has been featured in a number of contemporary Armenian films, greatly contributing to the development of Armenian cinema.”

Eurovision Song Contest star Aram MP3, who represented Armenia in 2014 with the song “Not Alone”, wrote on Instagram that Hayko was a “bright, kind and talented person,” adding: “You will always stay brilliant. “.

While Sirusho, a singer-songwriter who entered the 2008 Eurovision Song Contest and worked with Hayko, also wrote on Instagram: “I lost a brother, we lost a talent.”

Hayko finished eighth at the 52nd Eurovision Song Contest in Helsinki, won by Serbian Marija Šerifović.

Composer and singer, Hayko released his debut album Romances in 1999 after winning first place at the Big Apple Festival in New York City.

He then became the second Eurovision contestant to represent Armenia with his ballad “Anytime You Need”.

Throughout his career, he won several Armenian Music Awards and US National Music Awards, and in 2017 returned to Eurovision as a judge for the national selection show Depi Evratesil.

Since its debut at the Eurovision Song Contest in 2006, Armenia has been represented by 13 artists over the years, with Sirusho and Aram Mp3 being the country’s most successful entrants after reaching fourth place in 2008 and 2014 respectively.