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Barry Gibb Felt Bee Gees Brothers 'Were There' as He Receives Kennedy Center Honor: 'We Supported Each Other'

The Australian-born band dominated the disco era

<p>Tasos Katopodis/Getty</p> Barry Gibb attends The Kennedy Center Honorees reception on Dec. 3, 2023 in Washington, DC

Tasos Katopodis/Getty

Barry Gibb attends The Kennedy Center Honorees reception on Dec. 3, 2023 in Washington, DC

Barry Gibb is remembering his late Bee Gees bandmates and brothers after being named a 2023 Kennedy Center Honoree.

On Sunday evening, Gibb, 77, along with Billy Crystal, Queen Latifah, Dionne Warwick and Renée Fleming were honored for their contribution to entertainment at the annual event held at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

While there, the “Stayin’ Alive” hitmaker reflected on the legacy he created with Robin Gibb and Maurice Gibb.

“I'm proud of my brothers and myself. I never think to myself, ‘It's all about me,’” Barry told PEOPLE on the red carpet. “I've never thought that and what we all did together, when we were good, when we were on, that was something to be proud of.”

The “Wish You Were Here” artist opened up on how he still carries his younger siblings' presence with him wherever he goes.

<p> Allan Tannenbaum/IMAGES/Getty</p> Bee Gees, 1970s

Allan Tannenbaum/IMAGES/Getty

Bee Gees, 1970s

“I would hear Robin sing one night and I would feel this like, ‘Wow, he's flying tonight.’ So there was always that spiritual support and sometimes the same thing would happen with Norris. And every time one of us excelled, the other two brothers had the backs. They knew it. They knew it, and they support. We supported each other.”

Robin died in May 2012 at the age of 62 following a cancer diagnosis.

Related: Harmony, Hits and Hell: The Tragic History of the Bee Gees

“The family of Robin Gibb, of the Bee Gees, announce with great sadness that Robin passed away today following his long battle with cancer and intestinal surgery,” his rep said in a statement at the time.

Maurice, a singer and bassist in the group, died in January 2003 at 53 years old after suffering a heart attack while preparing to undergo abdominal surgery to remove an intestinal blockage. 

<p>Michael Ochs Archives/Getty</p> The Bee Gees, circa 1977

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty

The Bee Gees, circa 1977

When asked if Barry felt that his brothers were present with him on Sunday, he replied, “Yes, I do.”

“Well, I thought they were with me last night. I felt that they were there. It's very emotional because there's something going on in the air and you just feel it. You just feel it," he told reporters. "I didn't write a speech. I never write. I used to, but I don't do that anymore. I just get up and say something and I don't know what I'm going to say.”

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President Biden also reflected on the Bee Gees profound impact while speaking at the ceremony.

“As a child in Australia and England, Barry Gibb finally made it to the United States,” said Biden. "And he and his brothers set their sights on one thing: to make it big... From their soulful hits in the ‘60s to fueling the explosion of disco in the 1970s, the Bee Gees defied genres and left an enduring mark upon pop music."

Talking to PEOPLE in the late 1970’s, the trio opened up about how their 1977 Saturday Night Fever soundtrack made its mark in history.

"The world wanted to dance," the brothers told PEOPLE at the time. "Lawyers and judges and people who never buy albums, normally, were buying Saturday Night Fever and taking dance lessons."

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