France's rock 'n' roll icon Johnny Hallyday has died, according to multiple French news sources.

The 74-year-old singer had been suffering from lung cancer for several months. He had been hospitalized in November for respiratory failure but his condition had improved.

Often described as the French Elvis, Hallyday was known for his deep voice, glittering outfits and spectacular live shows.

The 'steel-eyed' singer first perform American versions of country songs and rock hits at the turn of the 1960s, became a star among young people in the golden 'yéyé', before forging his own unique identity.

Hallyday also achieved fame through a modest film career, playing in French director Jean-Luc Godard's "Detective" (1984) and with other illustrious directors including Costa-Gavras.

Hallyday was an institution in France and sold more than 100 million records.

-- With reports from La Presse Canadienne and Samuel Petrequin of The Associated Press