Vicente Fernandez

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

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Mexican singer and actor Vicente Fernández, known as “the King of the Rancheras” is dead at 81.

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.

Vicente Fernandez (Photo by Jean-Paul Aussenard/WireImage)
Mexican singer Vicente Fernandez speaks to the audience during a press conference on February 17, 2009, in Bogota. Fernandez will play in Bogota and nine other cities as part of his “Para Siempre” tour 2009. AFP PHOTO/Mauricio DUE-AS (Photo credit should read MAURICIO DUENAS/AFP via Getty Images)
SAN JOSE, CA – APRIL 14: Vicente Fernandez performs in concert at the HP Pavilion on April 14, 2013 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Rocky Widner/FilmMagic)
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – NOVEMBER 14: Vicente Fernández performs onstage during the 20th annual Latin GRAMMY Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena on November 14, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for LARAS)
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – NOVEMBER 14: Alex Fernandez, Vicente Fernandez and Alejandro Fernández perform onstage during the 20th annual Latin GRAMMY Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena on November 14, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for LARAS)
MIAMI – OCTOBER 10: Mexican singer Vicente Fernandez performs at AmericanAirlines Arena on October 10, 2010 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Olivia Salazar/WireImage)
Mexican singer, actor and film producer Vicente Fernandez, known as ‘El Rey de la Musica Ranchera’ (The King of Ranchera Music), sings during the unveiling of a life-size statue in his honour, at the Mariachis square in Guadalajara, state of Jalisco, Mexico, on October 6, 2019. – Fernandez, the most important representative of ranchera music in Mexico, was honoured for his musical career. (Photo by Ulises RUIZ / AFP) (Photo by ULISES RUIZ/AFP via Getty Images)
MANAGUA, NICARAGUA – JUNE 12: Mexican musician Vincente Fernandez sings 12 June 1999 during his concert in Managua, Nicaragua. El musico Mexicano Vicente Fernandez canta 12 de Junio de 1999 durante su presentacion en Managua, Nicaragua. Fernandez cantante de musica ranchera se presento en Nicaragua durante una gira por varios paises de Centroamerica. (Photo credit should read RODRIGO ARANGUA/AFP via Getty Images)
GUADALAJARA, MEXICO – OCTOBER 14: Singer Vicente Fernandez performs to start the Opening Ceremony for the XVI Pan American Games at Omnilife Stadium on October 14, 2011 in Guadalajara, Mexico. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
MEXICO CITY, MEXICO – OCTOBER 28: Mexican singer Vicente Fernandez presents new album El Hombre Que Mas Te Amo during a press conference a Intercontinental Hotel on October 28, 2010 in Mexico City, Mexico. (Photo by Alejandro Godinez/ via Getty Images)
Vicente Fernandez, LARAS Person of the Year receipent, performs “Aca Entre Nos” and “Tantita Pena” at the 3rd Annual Latin GRAMMY Awards at the Kodak Theater. (Photo by M. Caulfield/WireImage)
HOLLYWOOD – SEPTEMBER 16: Singer Vicente Fernandez performs during rehearsals for the 3rd Annual Latin Grammy Awards at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, California. The Latin Grammy Awards will be held Septemeber 18 in Hollywood. (Photo by Vince Bucci/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD – SEPTEMBER 17: Recording Artist Vicente Fernandez performs at the LARAS Person of the Year Tribute Presentation and Gala in his honor at the Kodak Theatre Grand Ballroom on September 17, 2002 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Robert Mora/Getty Images)

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.