The body of flamenco guitarist Paco de Lucia was flown back to Spain for his funeral after he passed away suddenly, of a heart attack in Mexico.
The 66-year-old virtuoso fell ill on Tuesday while playing with his eight-year-old son in a beach resort in Playa del Carmen, Mexico and later had a heart attack that proved fatal.
According to the Spanish Council in Cancun, Paco de Lucia’s body was accompanied by his wife and two children and will arrive in Spain on Friday, after a layover in New York City.
The legendary guitarist has a home in the Mayan Riviera area and spent a great deal of time in the country with his family in recent years.
Francisco Gustavo Sánchez Gómez, Paco de Lucia, was not only a virtuoso guitarist, but a composer and producer who hailed from Algeciras in Andalucia, Spain, and originally famous for playing flamenco, which includes singing, playing the guitar, dancing, hand clapping, and foot tapping.
Flamenco is usually associated with the Gypsies in Spain and many of the most famous singers of the genre belong to the ethnic group, Paco de Lucia was a great promoter of the style which was named one of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity, by UNESCO in 2010.
At the time Paco de Lucia started playing flamenco, it was certainly not what it is today, but with his incomparable talent he made it a mainstream genre after he released his album “Entre Dos Aguas” and became the first flamenco musician to perform at Madrid’s opera house, Teatro Real, in 1975.
VIDEO: Paco De Lucia Tribute Video R.I.P 1947-2014: http://t.co/h2806kcXm9 Memorial VIdeo for the great Spanish flamenco guitarist!
— Music Junkie Press (@MARIRICHARDSON) February 28, 2014
“Whatever I do, my sound will always remain flamenco because I am who I am”. Paco de Lucía (1947-2014). In Memoriam. pic.twitter.com/j9QFAlF1Cn
— Spain in USA (@SpainInUSA) February 27, 2014
De Lucia became the first flamenco guitarists who successfully crossed over into other genres of music such as classical, jazz, and Latin jazz.
He has been referred to by other musicians as a “titanic figure in the world of flamenco guitar” and “one of history’s greatest guitarists.”
During his career Paco de Lucia toured extensively with renowned international artists such as Carlos Santana and Al Di Meola, which upset some flamenco purists.
After playing Joaquin de Rodrigo’s “Concierto de Aranjuez” at London’s Festival Hall in 1991 — which was attended by the composer himself — he received international acclaim and the performance was considered one of the best interpretations of the piece ever.
“With the guitar I’ve suffered a great deal, but when I’ve had a good time, the suffering seemed worthwhile,” Paco de Lucia, who did not read music, said in a documentary.
Spain is in mourning following the death of one of her favorite sons and the city of Algeciras has decreed two days of official mourning for the late Paco de Lucia.