Krzystof Krawczyk, Poland’s own Johnny Cash, passed away on Easter Monday at the age of 74. He contracted Covid-19 few weeks ago, even though he was fully vaccinated and won the fight two days after coming back home from the hospital he felt unwell, lost consciousness and was rushed to hospital where he passed away as his heart and lungs stopped working.
It’s not an exaggeration to say that nearly every Pole knew him and his music. Older generations danced away to his music at their weddings, parties when they were younger and concerts. While younger generations attended his concerts and sang along with him to his all-time hits. His music united generations.
So who was Krzystof Krawczyk? If you’re not Polish the chances of you knowing him are slim, however, if you know any Polish person and ask them about him they will most definitely tell you a few things about him and without a problem mention some of his hits.
He was born in 1946, in Katowice in Southern Poland to parents who were actors. From his teenage years onward he was passionate about signing. In his early twenties the band he was part of released their gold album (1968), from 1974 he began a solo career, in 1981 he moved to the US to record an album and tour around the country.
While in the US (even before going there), Krawczyk abused many substances, from hardcore drugs to alcohol, in interviews he spoke very frankly about it. It is in the US where he met his third wife, Ewa, she helped him to get out from his addictions and supported him all the way through the turbulent times.
She also reignited Krawczyk’s religious beliefs after she convinced him to attend mass in Chicago with her. Before they met he was an atheist, he turned to atheism after his father’s death. In the mid 80’s, he returned to Poland where he underwent an operation, in 1988 while driving a car he fell asleep behind the wheel and as a result suffered many injuries and had to spend months undergoing therapy.
Once again in the early 90s he moved to the US for a short period of time, when he came back to Poland in 1994 he encountered a lack of interest by producers in his music and struggled to survive over the next few years on the music stage. Before the 2000s, he re-shaped his artistic image and began propagating family values. In 2000 he played for John Paul the II in the St Peter’s Square. He also sang with other artists such as Rod Stewart.
Inspired by Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen and Johnny Cash, Krawczyk’s music tends to reflect the different events in his life.
Krawczyk always lived a modest life, he was never a show off artist and didn’t strive to be such. He had four kids, one of his own and three adopted. With his wife he lived in a village on the outskirts of Lodz. Since meeting his third wife and the car accident, Krawczyk underwent a spiritual awakening. He refused to get involved in politics as he always said that his concerts are attended by everyone and his music is for everyone.
Soon after the news of him passing away emerged, politicians including the President and Prime Minister, artists and ordinary people rushed to social media to pay tributes to him and offer condolences to his family. TV channels as well as radio stations played his hits and broadcasted stories about his life and his musical career.
Krzystof Krawczyk will be buried in Grotniki, the village in which he lived for the past few years with his wife and three adopted daughters. The funeral will be of a state nature.