France's biggest rockstar Johnny Hallyday has died aged 74 after a battle with lung cancer.

The singer sold over 100 million records and starred in a number of films in a career which spanned over half a century.

His career began in 1960 with the release of his debut album Hello Johnny. Hallyday, who is credited with introducing rock and roll music to France, is known as "the biggest rock star you've never heard of" outside of his home country.

The musician's wife Laeticia Hallyday confirmed the news of his death in a statement on Wednesday (December 6) in a statement which read: "Johnny Hallyday has left us. I write these words without believing them. But yet, it’s true. My man is no longer with us.

"He left us tonight as he lived his whole life, with courage and dignity."

French music icon Johnny Hallyday died after a battle with lung cancer

French President Emmanuel Macron reacted to the news with a statement which read: "Across generations, he carved himself into the lives of French people. He charmed them through the generosity you saw in his concerts: so epic, so intimate, in huge venues, in small spots.

"We all have a piece of Johnny Hallyday inside every one of us. The public today is in tears, and the whole country mourns."

Hallyday, whose real name was Jean-Philippe Smet, was born in Paris in 1943. He decided he wanted to be a singer after seeing Elvis Presley on screen in 1957. The gravelly voiced star packed out sports stadiums in France for decades and was considered a national institution.

He also branched out into film, appearing on the big screen in films such as Jean-Luc Godard's Détective in 1985, The Man on the Train in 2002, and Pink Panther 2 in 2009.

People have taken to Twitter to pay tribute to the late musician, with fellow musician Lenny Kravitz saying "your soul is pure Rock and Roll".

Singing icon Celine Dion said Hallyday was "a giant in show business", adding that he will be "sadly missed but never forgotten".

Musician Brian Ray said Hallyday was a "fearless performer" who "will be missed by millions".

Take a look at some of the tributes below.