MADRID – Spanish musician and composer Camilo Sesto, one of the country’s most famous musical exports who found fame on both sides of the Atlantic with his romantic rock and pop ballads, has died aged 72.
“Dear friends, we are very sorry to inform that our great and cherished artist Camilo Sesto has just left us. Rest in peace,” a message on the singer’s official Twitter page read.
His representative, Eduardo Guervos, told Spain’s state TV that the 72-year-old singer died from complications resulting from kidney failure.
Tributes for Sesto poured in on social media.
“With his genuine voice, both as a singer and composer, he managed to become one of the most beloved and universal artists,” Spain’s acting prime minister Pedro Sanchez wrote on Twitter. “Spain and all of Latin America laments the loss of Camilo Sesto.”
“Your melodies will always be a part of our memory.”
Born on Sept. 16, 1946 in Alcoy, near Alicante on Spain’s Mediterranean coast, Camilo Blanes Cortes headed to the capital Madrid aged just 18 to try his luck in the popular TV talent show “Salto a la Fama” with his band Los Dayson.
His time in the band was short-lived and Sesto began a solo career in 1971, launching his first album “Algo de Mi,” which topped the charts in Spain and Latin America.
Just one year later, he performed his hit “Algo Mas,” arranged by Juan Carlos Calderon, at the international OTI song contest. Once again, the song gained huge popularity across the Spanish speaking world.
In 1974, two of his songs, “Ayudame” and “Quieres ser mi Amante” shot him to international fame.
Sesto starred as Jesus in the Spanish version of “Jesus Christ Superstar” in 1974 to critical acclaim.
Having solidified his grip on international fame, Sesto’s songs went on to regular top the charts across the world, selling over 100 million records in a career that spanned 40 albums in as many decades.
In the early 2000s, he underwent a liver transplant and returned in 2003 with a new album, “Alma.”
In 2008, he began a farewell tour and retired from the stage. He continued to compose music, however.