Robin and Barry Gibb have given an emotional interview to
the BBC about the death of their brother, and fellow Bee Gee, Maurice.
The interview was conducted in Miami, Florida, on Sunday evening (12 January 2003) by the
BBC's Miami correspondent Fergal Parkinson, soon after Maurice died.
The interview was granted to the BBC by the family on an exclusive basis, with the
understanding that a text transcript of the interview would be made publicly available.
Interview between Fergal Parkinson / Robin and Barry Gibb
FP: "This cannot be easy for you. How are you both coping right now?"
RG: "... I think the answer to that is that we're both devastated. We've actually
been in shock for the last few days since Maurice was taken ill, and so this has all gone
too fast for us, so we're actually ..."
BG: "....in the twilight zone ... we're in a very strange head space ... I think it's
really good that we have each other, you know, and we're taking a lot of strength from
each other right now, you know ..."
FP: "Could you just talk me through the past twenty-four, thirty-six, forty-eight
hours, you know ... how did you find out he was ill, and then talk me through the course
of events ..."
BG: "You see, whatever I tell you, it's still subject to question, because I wasn't
there, you know, and I think that ... and Robin was in London at the time, and I got the
information from Dick Ashby that Maurice didn't feel very well, and wanted to go down to
the hospital to be checked out and they did that, and they kept him overnight. But about
four o'clock in the morning, he suffered suddenly a cardiac arrest, and between four and
eight o'clock that morning, the physician arrived, the doctors arrived, the surgeons
arrived and decided that whatever caused the cardiac arrest was the reason that they
should act immediately, even though Maurice was in shock, and so they did that, they made
that decision to go and examine what was going on inside Maurice's stomach and ... this is
only my version once again ... that his intestines were twisted and this may indeed be a
birth defect, and it may not be. But as far as we know, it's a birth defect of some form,
and so consequently, they removed eighty percent of his stomach and that's the percentage
they put on it, and said there's very little left and he suffered a cardiac arrest, and
the fact they had to operate on Maurice during the shock of cardiac arrest..."
RG: "is questionable ..."
BG & RG: "It's very questionable, and we will pursue every factor, every element,
every second of the timeline, of the final hours of Maurice's life. We will pursue that
relentlessly. That will be our quest from now on."
FP: "Do you believe he should have never have been operated on in that state?"
BG: "No, we believe that mistakes were made - period."
RG: "We believe mistakes were made and time was wasted."
BG: "... and whatever happened, and we allege, we don't condemn - we allege ... that
things went wrong. Protocol was not followed. Someone is responsible for the death of one
of the world's ... to our minds, one of the world's greatest recording artists ..."
RG: "... totally unnecessary ..."
BG: "... and our brother, and it wasn't necessary. We will question it to the end of
our days. We will question it, we will examine it and we will bring the truth out, no
matter what ..."
RG: "... and someone will be held to account ..."
BG: "... and somebody will have to account for this."
FP: "When you say it was unnecessary, what part are you ... do you believe that the
wrong decision was made?"
BG: "Immediate action, I think, would have been ..."
RG: "Maurice went in at five o'clock Wednesday afternoon. He was still not being
treated for his ..."
BG: "... we shouldn't go any further ... we really shouldn't ... but the point is ...
the point is that Maurice is not the kind of person ... Maurice is like every other guy.
He won't go near a hospital. He won't go near a doctor, not because he doesn't love them,
but because none of us want to go to a doctor and none of us want to go to a hospital. So
for Maurice, we know Maurice. It would take an awful lot for Maurice to go to a hospital,
so he felt in distress and we feel that he should have been attended to immediately and
someone should have had a diagnosis within the first hour as to what was going on with
Maurice, and somehow, none of the timelines, none of the minutes, none of the sequence of
events have yet made sense to us. We will make sense with that."
FP: "... and Robin, it must have been incredibly difficult for you being so far away
from him at the time ... how did you find out?"
RG: "I found out ... I was being kept abreast of everything by phone, phoned almost
by the hour, so I knew everything that was going on. But obviously yes, very difficult. I
still can't come to terms with it now. It's just almost like a dream. It's like a
nightmare that you wake up to every day. That's all we can say. It's just devastating.
It's going to take a long time even just for it to sink in."
FP: "... and even more difficult for you because he was your twin ...?"
RG: "Yeah, of course. You know, we'd just had a birthday, he was ... you know, he
still had a future out of him and all I can is he was just one of the most beautiful
people in the world ... a very gifted man and it's a loss to the world, not just for
FP: "People know Maurice as a member of the Bee Gees. They know him as one of the
world's greatest recording artists, as you say. But describe to me Maurice the man, the
man that you knew."
RG: "He was the most sweetest, generous of people you could ever meet ..."
BG: "Maurice was a silly man. Maurice liked being silly. I think his whole grasp of
life was silly, and I think we all are, but Maurice really excelled. He was an extrovert
and he would always be the person ... he would never walk into a room, Maurice. Maurice
would prance into a room, you know, and his presence was immediate. Chill out, were you
waiting for me ... that's Mo ..."
FP: "... and millions of people around the world have taken his death badly, they're
very shocked by it. What do you think it was about him that people loved and people could
BG: "He was the average guy. Maurice, I think, reflected every man. He didn't reflect
the glamour side of the pop business ... he was a very down to earth person, and you could
see that sometimes in his performance and in his normal attitude to life. He never really
lost his Lancashire accent. He never lost his roots, you know. Maurice was the one who, as
bad as Robin and I were ... Maurice was the one who would never steal. When we were kids,
we were always stealing. But Maurice was the one who never would, and I think that says
something about the spirit of this person ..."
FP: "It must have been very important for you to have your family around at the time
in the hospital as he was laying there ..."
BG: "... no question ... there's no question that Robin and me are completely
pole-axed by this whole episode. But there can't be anything compared to his wife, Yvonne,
his son Adam and his daughter Sammy, who are ... you know, this has really just decimated
their lives and it's just destroyed them. It's going to take them years to come to terms
with the loss of Mo, you know. He was everything to them. He was their world, you know,
and as we've all got different families, that's what happens."
FP: "He did have a number of health problems earlier in life. He had a
well-documented problem with alcohol. But in recent years, he was very fit, he was very
healthy, a lot of people say they saw him, he was tanned and he was full of life ..."
RG: "Maurice had a very routine life, you know ... he was a creature of habit and he
was into paint-balling. He'd go paint-balling every weekend, and he'd do things in such a
routine way ... his lifestyle ... he had a good, clean, kind of wholesome lifestyle
compared to other people in the music business. He didn't push the boat out, not in the
last years, so it comes, you know, just absolute shock ..."
BG: "The last person you would expect. Robin or me, yeah. You'd expect that, because
we're both rebels. But Maurice has always towed the line, he's always tried to look after
RG: "He's always trying to keep people happy, always pleased people, even beyond the
point where he didn't have to ..."
BG: "... and we're not just saying this. This was an extremely sweet person."
FP: "... and he was still working. He was still working ..."
BG: "... always still working ... always still working."
FP: "You were working quite recently on a new venture ..."
BG: "Well, we're not really doing anything at the moment except writing songs. We
think that at this point in our lives, the sooner we get back to what we think our gift
is, is writing songs, and it will be Maurice will be a void, always in our lives and he
will always be featured as the third member of the Bee Gees, no matter what we do, but one
thing I will tell you is that the Bee Gees will go on. The Bee Gees will not stop here.
The Bee Gees will not disintegrate because we've lost Mo."
FP: "I was going to ask you that - what does that mean for the group?"
BG: "It means that we will go on and make another album."
RG: "You're looking at the Bee Gees right now ..."
BG: "You're looking at the Bee Gees, and we will do it in Maurice's name."
FP: "So, it isn't the end?"
BG: "No, not at all. It's the end of the beginning."
FP: "So, you're determined to carry on with the group?"
BG: "It will emerge as an abstract form of the Bee Gees. It will emerge as Robin and
me doing the best we can ..."
RG: "... and as Maurice would have wanted us to."
FP: "Do you think that's what he would have wanted - you to carry on as normal?"
BG: "Absolutely ... and it's what I would have wanted, and if it had been me, it's
what I would have wanted Maurice and Robin to do."
FP: "What do you think is his legacy?"
BG: "He brought a great spirit to the pop business. He was a great spirit, you know.
I mean, he was never a negative spirit, always positive ..."
BG & RG: "... great qualities in the songs that he wrote with us. His melancholy,
his pathos. When Maurice touched a keyboard, it was like something from a movie, magical.
He would always give you something from a movie, and you'd go, what did you just play ...
immediately inspirational ... writings, amazing. That's what we're going to miss. We're
going to miss that."
FP: "But what's your most endearing memory of him?"
BG: "... memory of him is his whole life. That's what happens at this point when you
lose someone that's close to you like this is you get like a thousand visions at once. You
get thousands of things that have happened to you with Mo, things that he did ..."
RG: "It's hard to pinpoint one memory when, you know, it's the whole person."
BG & RG: "Maurice walking along a two-foot ledge in Japan, six storeys up ... but
it's true ... I mean, there's just the crazy moments, and there's mum and ... little kids,
you know, because we grew ... with little kids as well. So it's like the whole person, the
child as well. We've been in each other's pockets our entire lives."
FP: "... and how's your mother coping?"
BG & RG: "Surprisingly well, you know ... I think this is the third person she's
lost inside fourteen, fifteen years, so I mean she's bearing up probably a lot better than
we are. She's holding things, it'll come out in her own way. She's that kind of
FP: "For a man that was obviously full of life, very talented, how did you feel when
you went in and saw him lying there in that hospital bed?"
RG: "Well, I mean, it's devastating. It's just too soon for us ... to sink in. I
mean, these are visions that are just ... are still new to us. So you'll have to realise
this is a very hard thing to even talk about. It only happened a few hours ago, and it's
still very devastating."
BG: "I think the sense at least was that he wasn't there. He wasn't really
RG: "I think for anybody, any family, and I know there are families out there that
are going through this even now, that it is the hardest thing in the world. Nobody is ever
prepared for it."
FP: "... and thousands of fans from all over the world have been sending their
support, they've been sending floral tributes, they've been e-mailing websites. How does
that make you feel - is that any comfort?"
BG & RG: "It is a great comfort, it's a great comfort ... very overwhelmed, and
it makes us feel that, you know, that Maurice's life has meant something, that it wasn't
in vain and that it makes us feel better that everyone out there is thinking of
BG: "I think he always felt like he was the third man on the pole, you know. He
always felt like there was me and Robin or Robin and me and then Mo, and maybe he felt
like he was the last UFO in Close Encounters ... the little red one at the back, you know.
There was that feeling about him. This will be time for him, this will be his time, the
time when he gets the respect and the admiration of his peers and the sense of loss that
is occurring right now."
FP: "Do you think that would have surprised him, the sense of loss, the people
BG: "I think he'd be blown away ... absolutely blown away."
FP: "If you could speak to the many fans who will be watching this and wishing you
all the best, what would you say to them?"
RG: "We'd say that ... we'd just thank them wholeheartedly for their support. We're
feeling as devastated as they are and nobody will ever take Maurice's place and he'll go
on with us and he'll go on our music. He'll go on with us as the Bee Gees and Maurice will
always be with us."
FP: "Barry ... similar?"
BG: "We're numb."
FP: "Thank you very much."