Macedonian and Croatian marathon runners are running in honor of Toshe Proeski to lay flowers in Krushevo and Nova Gradishka, respectively, marking 13 years since the Balkan music star died in a car crash on his way to Zagreb, Croatia.
Other athletes, too, have been paying tribute to the singer. On Sept. 20, under the motto “For Toshe from the Heart,” bicyclists set off from Tikvesh to get to Krushevo on Oct. 16. Earlier this year, swimmers from the Vardar 2018 club held a swimming marathon at the Krushevo Lake in his honor.
The 13th anniversary of Proeski’s death will be commemorated during the day near the newly built memorial at his resting place in Gumenje near his birthplace Krushevo, which the government funded with 10 million denars.
The Toshe Proeski Memorial House in Krushevo is open for visitors in line with public health guidelines. Around 700 items are displayed as part of its permanent collection, which is updated yearly on his birthday, Jan. 25.
Since its opening in 2011, the museum has had more than 650,000 visitors. According to museum management, one third of them were foreign visitors, mostly from the Balkan countries.
Because of the pandemic, this year’s “Starry Sky for Toshe” concert was canceled. It has been held by Proeski’s fans each Oct. 5 at Macedonia Square to commemorate his last concert on Oct. 5, 2007.
He held his last concert, with proceeds going to Macedonian schools, at the City Stadium. Last year, the stadium was officially renamed Toshe Proeski National Arena.
Toshe Proeski (1981-2007) gave his first performance when he was 11, at the Golden Nightingale [Златно славејче] children’s song festival, where he sang in the Vlach language. He began his music career after winning first place at Prilep’s Melfest festival in 1997. He later performed at many regional festivals, and was the Republic of Macedonia’s Eurosong entry in 2004. That year he also became a UNICEF goodwill ambassador.
Over his 10-year career, Proeski released seven albums. Besides Macedonian, he recorded songs in Serbian, Bosnian, Croatian, Slovenian, and Italian.
His last album was released in the Balkans two weeks before his death. An English-language album he had been working on, “The Hardest Thing,” was released posthumously.