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Published: 6/20/2007

Mexican mariachi singer and actor Antonio Aguilar dies at 88 after long fight with pneumonia

MEXICO CITY -- Mexican mariachi singer and actor Antonio Aguilar, who recorded more than 150 albums and began his acting career during Mexico's "Golden Era" of cinema, has died in Mexico City. He was 88.

Aguilar died late Tuesday after a long fight with pneumonia, Medica Sur hospital spokeswoman Shere Sanchez said.

Born in the northern state of Zacatecas, Aguilar recorded with his traditional mariachi group for 50 years and sold more than 25 million records. His hit songs include "Triste Recuerdo," ''Albur de Amor," ''Gabino Barrera" and "Puno de Tierra."

He appeared in 167 films, including "The Undefeated" starring John Wayne.

In 2000, he got a star in the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Aguilar's son, singer Pepe Aguilar, is also one of Mexico's best-known performers and has been nominated for a Latin Grammy six times.

The elder Aguilar was the first Mexican artist to mix concerts with rodeos in shows that featured his actress-singer wife, Flor Silvestre, his two children and dancing horses. In the 1970s, he took his show to major cities in the United States and Latin America.

"Antonio was the one to open doors for us in the United States and in Latin America with his great show," said ranchera singer Vicente Fernandez.

"I love to be in the USA," he told hundreds of fans who gathered for the occasion. "This is one of the most important episodes of my life. I never expected this."

Read more in later editions of The Blade and toledoblade.com



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