Gustavo Cerati passed away last Thursday after being in a coma since 2010. NY Times reports that the Argentinian singer-songwriter was a legend of rock during Argentina’s military dictatorship in the 1980s and his music became the soundtrack for that generation’s pursuit of democracy through his band, Soda Stereo. Cerati was 55 and passed away in Buenos Aires, where he finally succumbed to respiratory complications.
After a concert in 2010, while performing in Venezuela, Cerati suffered a stroke that left him in a coma. As lead singer and guitarist for Soda Stereo, Cerati’s music was full of energy and inspired young people during a difficult time in Argentinian history. The band’s first album took off in 1984. The band went their separate ways in 1997. As an independent artist, Cerati took home three Latin Grammy Awards, including best rock album, in 2009. This was in addition to his six Latin Grammy Awards as a songwriter and producer.
Cerati is recently known for writing and recording as artist and producer for other artists, most notably, Shakira. The international superstar had a great relationship with Gustavo Cerati and worked with him on her “Oral Fixation” and “Sale el Sol” albums. Fluent in rock and electronica with a sound ahead of its time, Cerati was often compared to new wave and rock music acts in America, like The Police. In later years, Cerati performed with The Police’s Andy Summers on a Spanish tribute album for the famous band. He was also asked to perform tributes for The Beatles and Queen.
Shakira shared her sadness on Facebook by posting, “Gustavo, we still have to do the most important song of all. I love you, friend, and know that you love me! Just as you taught me, I’ll use love as a bridge.” The LA Times confirms that after Cerati’s stroke, he underwent surgery to remove a blood clot and never woke up. His loss was sudden to those who loved him, even after several years of living in a coma state. It was his mother, Lilian Clark, who managed his care in the past few years and struggled with the decision of keeping Gustavo Cerati alive, awaiting medical advances that could save him. Newsweek reports that Cerati’s mom said “Human beings are something miraculous. One day there is a click and he wakes up. You don’t know.” Despite her hope, his condition did not change for over four years.
Former Soda Stereo drummer and friend, Charly Alberti, noted that “There are days when I feel very bad. I opted to stop visiting him because I would be out for 15 days afterward, it was very painful. The only thing I hope for is that this is over quickly… He doesn’t deserve for this to be so lengthy.”
Washington Post states that Cerati’s Sept. 4th death has stirred Latin pop music fans of the 1980s and 1990s. Billboard also notes that millions of fans, including his 2.67 million followers on Twitter have expressed their mourning in the past few days.
His bassist from Soda Stereo, Zeta Bosio, tweeted, “The lion gave up the fight.” Years ago, Cerati expressed to Billboard that “I think with Soda we were really at the dawn of something.” Surely his former bandmates are nostalgic about those times now and mourning the loss of their old friend.
Contact Music reports that Gustavo Cerati’s services were held on Friday in Argentina. Thousands of fan appeared to pay last respects to their music idol. He is buried at La Chacarita cemetery. Fox News Latino added that fans sang his songs and the flowers stretched for fifteen blocks, despite heavy rain. Cerati was born in 1959 in Buenos Aires and began performing with bands at the young age of 10. His music career spanned over 40 years before his death.