Vicente Fernández, the iconic Mexican singer, actor and film producer whose powerful baritone voice helped elevate mariachi music to art, died early Sunday morning in a hospital in Guadalajara, Mexico. He was 81 years old.
According to statements posted by his medical team on his official Instagram account, the artist known as “the king” of ranchera music had been in and out of the intensive care unit since early August, after suffering a serious fall in his body. ranch and developed pneumonia. . The cause of his death has not been revealed.
In a career that spanned more than half a century, Fernández has become the rightful heir to popular Mexican folk music and the legendary composers and performers who fill its ranks. Her voice was the soundtrack to weddings, funerals, and all the memorable occasions in between. Generations celebrated life and love as Vicente Fernández sang in the background.
Fernández began his musical journey singing for advice on the streets of the mariachi capital of the world, the city of Guadalajara in western Mexico. He went on to appear in over two dozen films and recorded over 50 albums with tens of millions of copies sold, the latest in 2018 titled “More Romantic Than Ever”. His live performances have been a showcase of Mexican popular culture and Mexican national identity. Dressed in his signature traje charro, Fernández sang for hours in sports arenas, concert halls, nightclubs and the occasional “Palenque” in front of euphoric audiences singing each of his tunes.
He’s one of Billboard’s all-time greatest Latin artists with 15 albums, six of which reached number 1 on Billboard’s top 10 best Latin albums, more than any other regional Mexican band. It placed 61 songs on Billboard’s Hot Latin Songs chart, including 20 in the top 10. The success catapulted its popularity beyond Mexico and Latin America. “Chente,” as he was popularly known to fans, received three Grammys and nine Latin Grammys.
For millions of Mexicans living in the United States, Fernández is as legendary a figure as Elvis Presley or Frank Sinatra. Hits like Volver and El Rey have become anthems that have linked them to family, traditions and the country left behind. To them and to people around the world, Fernández was as quintessentially Mexican as tequila. In 1998, he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
In 1963 Fernández married María del Refugio Abarca Villaseñor. They had four children: Gerardo, Alejandra, Vicente Jr. and, who also became a popular singer in Mexico. No plan has yet been announced for his funeral.