Vicente Fernández, legendary Mexican singer, dead at 81

Fernández was known for hits such as “El Rey,” “Volver, Volver” and “Lástima que seas ajena,” and his command of the ranchera and mariachi styles of music attracted fans far beyond Mexico’s borders.

“It was an honor and a great pride to share with everyone a great musical career and give everything for the audience,” Fernández’s family said on his official Instagram account. “Thank you for continuing to applaud, thank you for continuing to sing.”

Vicente Fernandez performs at the 20th Latin Grammy Awards on Nov. 14, 2019, in Las Vegas. The Mexican singer died early Sunday, Dec. 12, 2021, relatives reported. He was 81 years old.

Vicente Fernandez performs at the 20th Latin Grammy Awards on Nov. 14, 2019, in Las Vegas. The Mexican singer died early Sunday, Dec. 12, 2021, relatives reported. He was 81 years old. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello, File)

Fernández, known also by his nickname ″Chente,″ died at 6:15 a.m. in a hospital in Jalisco state, his family said. Funeral plans were not announced. In August, he had suffered a serious fall and had been hospitalized since then for that and other ailments.

In this file photo of Saturday, April 16, 2016, the Mexican singer Vicente Fernandez performs at a free concert at Azteca Stadium. Fernández, the regional Mexican music star whose powerful voice immortalized songs like "El rey", "Volver, Volver" and "Pity that you are alien" while inspiring new generations of performers like his son Alejandro Fernández Jr., He died early Sunday, Dec. 12, 2021, relatives reported. He was 81 years old. 

In this file photo of Saturday, April 16, 2016, the Mexican singer Vicente Fernandez performs at a free concert at Azteca Stadium. Fernández, the regional Mexican music star whose powerful voice immortalized songs like “El rey”, “Volver, Volver” and “Pity that you are alien” while inspiring new generations of performers like his son Alejandro Fernández Jr., He died early Sunday, Dec. 12, 2021, relatives reported. He was 81 years old.  (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

“One of the most important artists of Mexican popular culture, the undisputed symbol of ranchera music, dies. A million mariachis accompany you on your way, ” Alejandra Frausto, Mexico’s culture secretary, said on Twitter.

She alluded to the fact that Fernández often sang on Dec. 12 to mark the Catholic pilgrimage to the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City, an event that attracts vast crowds. The commemoration was being held on Sunday after it was canceled last year because of the pandemic.

FILE -  Vicente Fernandez performs at a free concert during Valentine's Day in Mexico City's on Feb. 14, 2009, file photo, singer. On Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2016.  The Mexican singer died Sunday at 81 years of age in Guadalajara, Mexico, his family announced in a statement. 

FILE –  Vicente Fernandez performs at a free concert during Valentine’s Day in Mexico City’s on Feb. 14, 2009, file photo, singer. On Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2016.  The Mexican singer died Sunday at 81 years of age in Guadalajara, Mexico, his family announced in a statement.  (AP Photo/Claudio Cruz, File)

Fernández sold more than 50 million records and appeared in more than 30 films. In April 2016, he said goodbye to the stage before about 85,000 people in Azteca Stadium in Mexico City. Spectators had traveled from northern Mexico as well as the United States, Colombia and other Latin American countries for the occasion.

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