MEXICO CITY – Vicente Fernandes, a well-known and beloved singer of regional Mexican music who won three Grammy and nine Latin Grammy Awards and inspired a new generation of performers, including his son Alexandro Fernandez, died on Sunday. He was 81 years old.
Fernandes was known for his hits such as “El Rey” and “Lástima que seas ajena”, his familiarity with the ranchera genre, and his dark and elegant mariachi costumes.
His music has attracted fans outside of Mexico as well. Songs like “Volver, Volver” and “Como Mexico no hay dos” were very popular among Mexican immigrant communities in the U.S. because they expressed nostalgia for the homeland.
“It was an honor and a great honor to share a great musical career with everyone and give everything to the audience,” Fernandes ’family said on their official Instagram account. “Thank you for continuing to applaud, thank you for continuing to sing.”
Fernandes, also known as Chente, died at a hospital in Jalisco at 6:15 a.m., his family said. In August, he suffered a serious fall and has since been hospitalized for these and other ailments.
From Sunday onwards, people started posting messages, many of them remembering the words of one of their favorite mariachi polls, “I’m still a king,” at banquets and restaurants.
Great musicians like Gloria Estefan, Ricky Martin, Pitbull and Maluma have expressed sincere condolences on social media, with some commenting on how her music has affected them. Famous country singer George Strait said he was “one of my heroes.”
“My heart is broken. Don Chente has been an angel to me all my life, ”said Ricky Martin. “The only thing that comforts me at the moment is that every time we saw each other, I told her how important she was to me.”
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador also expressed condolences, calling it a “symbol of rancher music”.
On Sunday night, his widow Maria del Refujio Abarka Villasenor said goodbye to Fernandes at his favorite place, his farm, with his children, grandchildren and hundreds of relatives and friends.
The ground of the Los Tres Potrillos ranch on the outskirts of Guadalajara shook as his fans in the stands and the mariachi on the flower-covered stage said goodbye to the Mexican music giant. The song “Mexico Lindo” opened the public funeral in Los Tres Potrillos. His symbolic charro hat was mounted on the coffin. His private funeral was to take place on Monday.
As Fernandes often sang to celebrate his Catholic visit to the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City on December 12, the timing of her death was also highlighted by fans. The memorial service was held on Sunday after it was canceled due to a pandemic last year.
Vicente Fernandes Gomez was born on February 17, 1940, in Juentitan El Alto, western Jalisco. He spent most of his childhood on a farm on the outskirts of his father, Ramon Fernandez.
The artist has sold more than 50 million records and has starred in more than 30 films. In 1998, he was awarded a star on Hollywood Walk of Fame.
In April 2016, he said goodbye to the stage in front of nearly 85,000 spectators at the Azteca Stadium in Mexico City. Spectators came from northern Mexico, as well as the United States, Colombia, and other Latin American countries.
Associated Press writer Adriana Gomez Lycon from Miami contributed to this report.
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