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Grammy-Award Winner Vicente Fernandez Dead At 81

(Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

Gretchen Clayson Contributor
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Musical legend Vicente Fernandez, died in a hospital in Guadalajara on Sunday according to a message posted on his official Instagram account.

While the family did not give a cause of death, the singer had been hospitalized since August due to a spinal injury he sustained after a fall at his Guadalajara ranch, NPR reported.

While in the hospital, Fernandez’s family reported that he was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome and that his health had taken a turn for the worst in recent days.

 

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A post shared by Vicente Fernández (@_vicentefdez)


Known by generations of fans as “El Rey” and “Chente,” Fernandez spent the past 50 years bringing traditional ranchero music to some of the largest venues in the world and selling more than 50 millions albums, according to the New York Times.

In his decades-long career, Fernandez earned a place in the Billboard Latin Music Hall of Fame, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, won three Grammy awards and eight Latin Grammy Awards.

In addition to his musical career, Fernandez also appeared in an array of Spanish language films between 1969-1991, acting in many and credited as a producer or assistant producer in others.

Fernandez retired in 2016 with a final concert at Mexico City’s Azteca Stadium with nearly 85,000 people in attendance. The concert was also broadcast in Mexico and the United States, according to Reuters.

“To die on stage is to take to the grave what you most love in this life, your presence, your affection, your respect and your applause,” Fernandez told the audience then.

Multiple music and film industry stars have paid tribute to the singer since the announcement of his death.

“My heart is broken. Don Chente was an angel to me his entire life. He loved me and I loved him. Whenever I went to Guadalajara, he’d come to my concerts and go. The only thing that makes my soul feel better in this moment is that every time that we saw each other, I told him how important he was to me.  All my love and strength to his family and everyone suffering this great loss,” Ricky Martin tweeted.

Calling herself one of his “biggest fans,” Gloria Estefan wrote that today was a “difficult and painful day for the world of music with the loss of [the] Mexican titan who…took his roots to the highest all over the world,” People reported.

“Sad news today. We lost The amazing legendary Vicente Fernández this morning. One of my heroes. May he Rest In Peace and may God bless and comfort his family. Hasta la Cruz Chente!! gs,” Country music legend George Strait wrote.