Vicente Fernández, the Mexican entertainer whose illustrious career as the “king of rancheras” spanned decades in music and film died Sunday at the age of 81.
“Rest in peace, Mr. Vicente Fernández. We regret to inform you of his death on Sunday, December 12 at 6:15 a.m.,” a post on the singer’s Instagram page said. “It was an honor and a great pride to share with everyone a great musical career and to give everything for his audience. Thank you for continuing to applaud, thank you for continuing to sing.”
After his death was announced, fans around the world paid their respects. NBC 7 spoke with several fans who couldn’t believe the news.
“For me and my wife we woke up to the news and we were saddened. We knew he was sick. There are just countless memories,” said Hugo Salgado. “Everything from cleaning the house listening to Vicente, going to a party, listening to Vicente, watching him live. El Rey, singing in chorus with hundreds of other people. It’s hard to explain what he meant to us.”
“I couldn’t believe it, immediately I got up, took a shower, cleaned the car, and said, ‘I’m going for a cruise,'” said Carlos Lira, a Lakeside resident. “We grew up listening to him. My parents, my grandparents. It’s a cultural thing. It’s not just a Spanish guy singing Spanish music. It means a lot.”
“It was very sad, especially because we had a family member who passed away from the same illness. We knew the struggles he was going to have and the challenges,” said Zulma Miranda, a Chula Vista resident.
“It was sad. He was the best of the best. That’s all I can say,” said Rosie Castro, a San Marcos resident. “He was the best of the best. I loved his music and he will be missed.”
NBC 7 visited a record store in City Heights where they said Fernández’s records are always sold out. It’s just another sign that to a lot of people, Fernández is still the king.
Fernández died in Guadalajara in his home state of Jalisco. He had been hospitalized for four months after a fall at his ranch. Fernández suffered from Guillain-Barré syndrome, which made it difficult for him to recover.
Fernández was so widely revered that the president of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, released a statement.
“My condolences to family, friends and the millions of admirers of Vicente Fernández, a symbol of the ranchera music of our time, known and recognized in Mexico and abroad,” he said on Twitter.
One of his sons, Vicente Fernández Jr., shared a photo on Instagram of the two smiling.
“Thank you for everything!!!” the caption read. “I LOVE YOU FATHER.”
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