Vicente Fernández, the Mexican Icon and ‘King of Rancheras,' Dead at 81

Vicente Fernández, one of Mexico's most recognizable and cultural icons, sold more than 65 million albums and filmed more than 35 movies in a decades-long career that brought him international fame

NBCUniversal Media, LLC

Vicente Fernández, the Mexican entertainer whose illustrious career as the "king of rancheras" spanned decades in music and film, has died. He was 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."

Plans for his funeral were not announced.

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.

PHOTOS: Vicente Fernu00e1ndez Through the Years

Fernández was known as "Chente" to his adoring fans. He's been compared to the likes of Frank Sinatra.

Those fans mourned his death as they woke up to the news Sunday morning.

His songs of love, heartbreak and masculinity are a staple in Hispanic households. They include the hits "El rey," "Volver, volver" and "Por tu maldito amor."

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."

Fernández had numerous health scares in recent years.

In 2012, Fernández underwent a complex surgery that removed almost half of his liver because of a tumor. A year after that he faced pulmonary thrombosis, and in March 2015, the singer had three hernias removed.

This year he was faced with allegations of sexual abuse by singer Lupita Castro. Fernández denied any inappropriate behavior.

Fernández has sold more than 65 million albums and filmed more than 35 movies. He won three Grammys and eight Latin Grammys, in addition to being named Person of the Year by the Latin Recording Academy in 2002.

In 1998, Fernández received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Contact Us