Singer and songwriter Camilo Sesto, whose dramatic and florid ballads made him a hugely popular figure in the Spanish-language music world, has died of heart failure.
He was 72 and would have celebrated a birthday on Sept. 16.
Sesto enjoyed an enduring popularity throughout Spanish-speaking regions. In October, he was scheduled to begin a U.S. tour, with planned stops in Miami (Oct. 5), New York City (Oct. 12) and Los Angeles (Oct. 25). Just last year, “Camilo Sinfónico,” which features his original hits set to newly recorded symphonic arrangements, reached the Top 10 in Spain upon its release.
Sesto’s manager, Eduardo Guervós, confirmed his death to Spanish public broadcaster TVE, saying that he had died early Sunday in a hospital in Madrid after suffering two heart attacks.
Sesto, who was born Camilo Blanes Cortes in Alicante, Spain, reportedly sold more than 100 million records worldwide over a career that spanned almost 50 years. His hits included “Algo de Mí,” ”Perdóname,” “Ayudadme,” “El Amor de Mi Vida” and “Melina.” His songs have been covered by such artists as Mijares, Jose Jose, Lucia Mendez, Yahir, Yuri, Lani Hall and Angela Carrasco.
His first album, 1972’s “Algo de Mí,” quickly established the singer-songwriter as a star, boosted by the powerful title song. The album was produced by fellow singer-songwriter Juan Pardo.
Sesto continued to be a dominant record-seller for the rest of the decade and into the ’80s. His recording output began to slow, but he still carried enough clout to top the Latin charts in the United States with 1991’s “Amor Mío, Que Me Has Hecho.” In the song’s accompanying music video, he portrayed the victim of a vampire.
In 1982, Arista Records released “Camilo,” a rare attempt by the singer to break into the English-language market. The disc included gently-sung covers of Eric Carmen’s “Boats Against the Current” and the Beatles’ “Here, There and Everywhere.” It failed to find an audience.
Spain’s caretaker prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, tweeted that “Spain and all of Latin America mourn the loss of Camilo Sesto. His melodies will always be part of our memory.”
Stars from the Latin-music world mourned the singer on Twitter. Sergio Dalma called him “an icon of Spanish and Latin-American music.” Pablo Alboran and Pastora Soler also were among those mourning the singer.
— Sergio Dalma (@SDalmaoficial) September 8, 2019
Hace un año compartí momentos entrañables con el,tuve la suerte de unir mi voz a su voz poderosa e inmortal! Tuve el honor de conocer a un mito,a un icono pero tambien a un señor de grandes ojos celestes llenos de humanidad y bondad!!!! Buen viaje maestro #CamiloSesto DEP pic.twitter.com/Zpes7lZmJb
— Pastora Soler (@PastoraSoler) September 8, 2019
“I had the honor of meeting a myth, an icon, but also a man with big, celestial eyes full of humanity and goodness! Have a good trip, maestro,” wrote Soler, who sang with him on the “Camilo Sinfónico” album.
AP Only 2019