The Day the Music Died: Toshe Proeski, 1981-2007

SARAJEVO, BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA – Early in the morning on October 16, word came through news bulletins and blogs from a stretch of highway north of the Sava river, in Croatia. A terrible car crash claimed the life of Macedonian music superstar Toshe Proeski, who had been popular in all of the former Yugoslavia for his golden voice, charity and kindness. TV networks all over the region, from Macedonia to Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia, pre-empted their regular programming and played Toshe’s music videos with messages of condolences. Thousands gathered in town squares, first in Macedonia and then in Bosnia, Serbia and Croatia as well, lighting candles and making impromptu memorials. For a moment, Yugoslavia existed once more – united in grief over a man whose voice had brought them together.

Proeski was 26.

“I don’t believe in god any more. How could he let this happen?” growled a man from Skopje on Tuesday night; “God takes the best from us,” said a fellow musician from Croatia. “He was a wonderful man, good and kind, who loved all. I am crushed,” said another Macedonian fan.

Accounts of the accident seem to underscore the cruelty of fate. Proeski was traveling from Skopje to Zagreb by car; having driven all night through Serbia and Bosnia, driver was tired. The thick fog that blanketed the Sava river valley in the early morning made for low visibility as they merged onto the highway leading to Zagreb. It was hard to notice a stopped trailer-truck until it was too late. The Volkswagen SUV ricocheted off the truck and slammed into the guardrail. Proeski had been asleep. He died instantly. The driver survived.

Born in Krusevo, Macedonia, Proeski made a name for himself by singing both traditional tunes and pop melodies. In a fragmented music scene, often influenced by ethnic chauvinism, Proeski was equally welcome in Zagreb, Belgrade, Sarajevo or Skopje – something no other artist managed. In a region haunted by hatred and war, he offered hope. Somehow, with his songs, joy became more joyous and sorrow was easier to bear. His fans didn’t care that he wasn’t Croat, or Serb, or Muslim, or Albanian. He was Toshe.

It is said that as he took off from Skopje on Monday night, Proeski told someone that he was “going up.” He meant Zagreb. He went to heaven instead.

44 thoughts on “The Day the Music Died: Toshe Proeski, 1981-2007”

    1. Tose….nasa najveca zvijezda po svemu!

      Andjele….bices s nama zauvijek….. dok zivimo slusacemo te i pjevati tvoje pjesme….otisao si, ali zivis i zivjeces u nasim srcima….ti si nasa dusa, kao sto smo mi tvoja….i dalje zajedno s tobom…volimo te..

  1. Something that region certainly needed. Just finished a good book on the Balkans by Misha Glenny. After all the former Yugoslavs went through losing a uniting force for good is indeed tragic, especially at a so young an age. Hopefully in death he can instill a lasting thought of peacefulness in a region racked by ethnic and religious fault lines and foreign intrigue.

  2. uhh…think i meant something that region didnt need. Still..sad day for the Balkans..and they dont need any more sad days.

  3. beshe i qe ostane najdragiot najskapoceniot kamen istotaka i za sekogash ke bleska vo nashite srca with loooooveee and i wish him paradise he was like mother tereza to us

  4. I wrealy can’t belive this happend.He was so young,positive with a big hurt person. I have never forgot them.

    Ne mogu da verujem da se ovo stvarno desava.Juce sam jako dugo plakala,i osecala se kao da je meni neko blizak umro.Ne znam zasto se svi hvataju za to da je bio dobar pevac i da je greota za Makedoniju da izguba pevaca. Pa ne radi se samo o tome,bio je jako jako mlad,dobrodusan,pozitivan,uvek nasmejan,humanitarac…pa tek onda jako talentovan pevac.Ne podcenjujem njegov talenat ali mislim da je u ovom trenutku mnogo teze i zalije to sto poginula divna osoba nego talenat.Nakon ovoga ne znam kako da potpuno zadrzim veru u boga.Zasto je uzeo ovako dobro bice,a mnogi kriminalci i sada,u ovom trenutku lutaju ulicama i cine zlo ????!!!!

  5. Jasam Albanac Ali mnogu Mie zal Sto Go zagubivme Eden Od Naj Dobrote I Naj Ubavito I vo Nasa Zemja I Vo sveteot Gospod da mu Dava Mir na familjata I Na Drugari Se Sto Imaaaa Mnogu Mie e Zalll Ama Sta Da Pravime Tako Je Zivotot Toseee Beseee Nomber On Vo Svetot I Ce Bide Toj Sekogasssss Ciaooo Macedoniaaaaaaa

    1. Sekoja chest, Amir! Drago mi e shto vikash deka si Albanec, a deka ti e sepak zhal za Toshe, zatoa shto go izgubi Makedonija, go izgubivme site!! Sekoja chest na tebe!

  6. toshe e bil i vinagi ste bade v nasheto saznanie.mnogo e tezko da si chovek v tova lo6o vreme na zivot.a toi be6e pove4e ot chovek.za6to vinagi taka stava,gospod vzima dobrite xora….?
    pochivai v mir..

  7. We should be grateful for the time spend with us. TOSHE was not only greatest singer, but greatest person that ever born in Macedonia. Love is too small word to describe human being like it was TOSHE. We will alwaus love you our angel…..

  8. Tose,mnogu te sakam i nikogas nema da gi zaboravam tvoite humanitarni dela,tvoite pesni,tvojata nasmevka…se uste ne mozam da poveruvam deka te nema.Vo Makdonija retko se raga covek kako tebe.Zasekogas ke ostanes vo moeto srce.I’LL ALWAYS LOVE YOU AND MISS YOU WITH ALL MY HEART AND SOUL… ANGEL NA ZEMJATA…ANGEL NA NEBOTO

  9. Toshe you are now a legend…

    WE LOVE

    WE MISS YOU

    WE WILL NEVER FORGOT YOU

    GOODBYE ANGEL

    HEAVEN IS WHERE YOU BELONG…………..

  10. zasekogas ke ostanes moeto edinstveno sonce na neboto!!!!!!!!makedonija bez tebe e mrtva!!!TE SAKAM TOSEEE

  11. He was an angel that was walking on the Earth. Now that angel is in the Heaven. I will miss you. You will always stay in my heart. REST IN PEACE MY ANGEL! I LOVE YOU!

  12. I am from Ukraine.
    Tose came to Ukaine in 2004, after the Eurovison. He performed two beautiful songs in the center of Kyiv. He became friends with young Ukrainian singer Vitaliy Kozlovskiy, who later visited Tose in Madedonia with concerts. Vitaliy’s producer Yana came was there at the funeral to express condolence.
    I saw Tose perform, was backstage. Still have those picture.
    I would just simply like to express my sorow and share the grief with everyone else.

    1. Dyakuyu duze anya, prijemno je pocuti so htoz z ukraini daje nam pitremku tak samo. ya ye z makedoniji ali, zaraz je v americi i razmovlyayu po ukrainski tak samo, vsi moyi tovarisi ye ukrainci
      meni duze podobayetsya ukrainska muzika
      thanks again for your support

  13. Drag Toshe,Zarem tebe morase da ti se sluci najlosoto.Gospod
    ispadna nepraveden kon tebe.Zarem ne bese “Sinot Bozji”? Tesko
    e ovie denovi bez tebe.Site sme ogorceni i otrueni. Gi gledame ovie denovi tvoite koncerti,spotovi,intervjua.So golema taga i plac vo dusata gi gledame i ne ni se veruva kolkavo bogatstvo
    izgubila Makedonija?! Ovie denovi posebno se slusha “Igri bez
    granici” – toj tekst i tvoite cuvstva kako ja pees taa pesna, mi nalikuva mnogu avtenticno,kako da samiot znaese deka ova ke
    ti se sluci.Prosto neverojatno.Ti bese redok covek.Gospod ti
    dari kompletna licnost: od talent,fizicki izgled,humanost, sposobnost,sestranost,poboznost,…i drugi bogatstva i ne ti
    dozvoli da gi podaruvas za dolgo na lugjeto.
    Tvojot angelski glas i lik ne oblagoroduvase i usrekuvase koga
    ni bese najteski.Sekoj najlos den znaese da ni go napravis najsreken.Te sakavme site:od najmladi-do najstari.Nezamenliv si! Najgolema crnina cuvstvuvaat tvoite najbliski i bog da im
    pomogne da istraat.Najteska e za niv ovaa zaguba.
    Najdlaboko socuvstvo na tvoite roditeli i rodnini.Bese ambasador nad ambasadorite.Site politicirai treba da ucat od
    tebe.Mnogu e tesko…Ke ni nedostasuvas.Sozrevavme i ucevme od tebe.Nepovtorliv primer za mladata generacija!
    Ostanuvaat tvoite remek dela i tvojot angelski glas da ne potsetuva sekogas na tebe.
    Pocivaj vo mir angelu nebeski,neka ti e vecna slavata.

  14. You were a very talented and humane young man. I heard your music on tv while visiting Macedonia(eurovision 2004)Even though I am Australian, my husband is Macedonian I felt privileged to meet and shake hands with you at Saint Jovan Bikorvski Monastery. Rest In peace, heart felt sorrow to all your family and friends. May your music keep the balkins united.
    Mary, Mende & Elanna Petkovski

  15. Tose! i still cant believe your gone. i dont want to believe it because you were our Macedonian angel. You will always live in our hearts and we will never forget you. You are a legend. Your humanity, character, charm inspired many people to live the dreams and aim high. You were our man and you will always live on. you were an angel sent by God to teach us to love again.
    my deepest sympathy to your family and friends. Rest In Peace my angel. i love you

  16. Macedonian lost his angel, we lost an angel, we united will keep his music alive, we will remember his smile, his voice, his work; we won’t forget his accomplishments in his short live.
    Tose my angel you put “Macedonian name on the map”. He was proud to be Macedonian, proud to be from Krusevo.
    Tose my angel I/We are proud being Macedonians too.

  17. I am deeply sorrowed and gutted! I am mourning rom Canada, and Tose will always bring good memories to me, of my time back home in Macedonia.

    You are an angel Tose, an inspiration, and a wonderful man. I guess they needed an arc angel in heaven – cause that’s where you will be! Singing to God.

    I will miss you!! The music will never die!
    Dan from Toronto, Canada
    xox

  18. jas sum allbanka……toshe gospod gi saka angelite pazatoa te zema i tebe ne ka tie lesna zemjata…..mnogu mi e zhall ama gospod taka sakall ne mozheme nishto protiv negova volja….te sakam mnogu toshe beshe navistina za gordenje….pocivaj vo mir:(:(:(:(:(….

  19. and ofter a month it still hurts so bad.we’ve lost the best man in the world.we will always love u.rest in peace,MY ANGEL

  20. tose nas angel si zamina no sekogas ke ostanes vo nasite srca te sakam.Jas se uste ne mozam da es pomiram so golemata zaguba Makedonija go izgubi najdragoto,najdobroto,najubavoto taa go izgubi najsvetliot angel.Zosto ni go zede Gospode zarem tebe ti trebase poveke?Ni go zede najpotrebnoto sega Makedonija bez tebe Tose ne e ista bidejki poveke ja nema tvojata nasmevka gi nema ubavite zborovi i po tolku vreme se uste placam na tvoite pesni mojot zivot bez tebe vo nego ona sto ke ostane malku e!!!!!!!!!!! Nikogas nema da te zaboravam angele moj cuvaj ne od gore

  21. toshe ke qen,je dhe do jesh gjithmon me i miri,ai yll qe u bashkua me henen e ne brengosemi qe te humbem sepse me ty humbi dhe drita jone!!!legjend do te mbetesh per te gjithe Ballkanin,Europen dhe per te gjithe boten!!

  22. toshe ti ishe engjelli, drita ,…. zeri yne.do te mbetesh gjithnje ne zemrat tona,ti je ylli qe ndricon me shume ne kete qiell , TE DUA SHUME

  23. VO SEKOJ MOMENT NESVESNO OCEKUVAM DA SLUSNAM DO KADE SI STIGNAL, NO SVETOT SE RUSI SO VISTINATA, TI NE SI SO NAS, NAJMILO MOE ZOSTO TI? TOLKU MNOGU LUGE ZIVEEJA OD TEBE, SO TEBE I ZA TEBE:(

  24. ZaÅ¡to takvo čestito, ljupko i vredno dete da strada tako surovo? Ako je pogreÅ¡io, to je prevelika ljubav i humanost, prevelika trka i rad, preveliko angažovanje… ostavio si TOÅ E pregrÅ¡t pesama, balada, i joÅ¡ mnogo ćemo tek izgleda čuti, tvoja tajna za života da nas r a d u j e Å¡ i nakon fizičkog kraja. MeÄ‘utim, tvoja duÅ¡a će zauvek ostati vezana za sve ljude dobre volje!!! Počivaj u miru.

  25. Toshe was fighting for all the people’s happiness, no matter what origin, nationality, religion they are. His character and charisma were special. He was addressing the young, old, happy, unhappy, healthy, loved and loveless human creatures. He loved all the positive people of the world.
    HIS LIFE WAS ENTIRELY DEDICATED TO HELPING PEOPLE, CHILDREN. IN HIS MISSION BOTH MUSIC AND HUMANITARIAN, HE REMINDED THE BALKAN AND ALL OTHER PEOPLE OF THE SIGNIFICANCE OF PEACE AND LOVE!!!! HOW UNSELFISH AND RARE TOSHE WAS AND IS!

  26. Ne mozam da ozdravam po tebe ne mozam da te prebolam ne mozam da poveruvam deka go nema deteto so angelsko srce go nema mojot idol go nema covekot na kogo odsekogas mu sum se voshituvala.Zosto gospode zosto sakam odgovor zosto tolku stradanje zosto morase da ne obvies vo crno me boli dusata me boli srceto.Ne znam kako ke go prebolam.Tosence se nadevam deka tanmu kade so si ke najdes mir.Te sakam i nikogas nema da te zaboravam

  27. Tose ce zivjeti u srcima svih onih koji ga vole,a takvih je mnogo. Smrt je uzela jedan mladi zivot,ostali smo bez najljepseg andjela u ovom sivom svijetu.Ostala su sjecanja i bol…TOSE VOLIM TE!

  28. ne diten e vdekjes te toshes bota humbi nje engjell,i cili u largua nga kjo bote por jo nga zemrat e atyre qe e degjuan qofte dhe nje here zerin e tij te embel.toshe ti do te mbetesh i paharuar.ne zemren time do kete vend gjithnje per ty.

  29. i love youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu TOSE SRCEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE MOJE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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