One of the most celebrated flamenco guitarists, Paco de Lucia, has died of a heart attack while playing with his children on a beach in Cancun, Mexico. He was 66.
The news was announced by the mayor’s office in Algeciras, southern Spain, where he was born.
Famous for a series of flamenco albums in the 1970s, he also crossed over into classical and jazz guitar.
He also worked on films by Spanish director Carlos Saura, notably appearing in his 1983 version of Carmen, which won a UK Bafta award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1985.
Algeciras is to hold two days of official mourning. Its mayor, Jose Ignacio Landaluce, called the musician’s death an “irreparable loss for the world of culture and for Andalusia”.
He was born Francisco Sanchez Gomez on 21 December 1947, the son of flamenco guitarist Antonio Sanchez, who was of Gypsy origin. He took his stage name in honour of his mother, Lucia Gomes.
A true prodigy
It is believed he had played the guitar from the age of five.
At the age of 18 he recorded his first album in Madrid.
One of the great musical partnerships of his life was with the singer Camaron de la Isla, who died in 1992. The two men recorded albums in the 1970s, which inspired a New Flamenco movement.
In 2004, Paco de Lucia was awarded Spain’s prestigious Asturias Prize for Art as the “most universal of flamenco artists”.
He performed at the Starlite Festival 2013 in Marbella.