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Rinaldi died of cancer on 2 March 2012. He was 69. A few days later, holding back his tears Jean Sarrus (Les Charlots) paid homage to his friend and had this to say about him : "Gérard was the soul of Les Charlots. He excelled in everything he did : he had this wonderful singing voice, but mostly as a writer, that's what he liked to do above everything else : writing songs. I admired his great sense of humor and his ability to laugh about everything, all the time. As he was dying, he even made us laugh about his cancer, I saw him on his hospital bed and he just tried to make me laugh in spite of the morphine kicking in. I'm going to miss him a lot." Luis Rego (Les Charlots) also reacted to his friend's death, saying that he was very sad and had a lot of admiration for Gérard Rinaldi : "he was so gifted that he would have had a great career even without Les Charlots".
Ten days after Rinaldi's death, the theatre world was reunited at Le Théâtre de la Michodière in Paris for a special homage. Ex-members of Les Charlots Jean Sarrus, Jean-Guy Fechner and Richard Bonnot (Rinaldi's replacement in the group from 1986 to 1992) were present to pay their respects. Actors Gérard Jugnot, Marie-Anne Chazel, Marie-Pierre Casey, Marthe Villalonga and many others paid their respects to their friend.
The Théâtre de la Michodière was chosen for the homage, because Rinaldi had appeared there four times in his stage career 1986 Double Mixte, 1992 La Puce à L'Oreille, 1994 Bobosse, 2004 Le Canard à l'Orange.