CUERNAVACA: Iconic Mexican singer Chavela Vargas, known for her mastery of the sad and sultry bolero, died Sunday. She was 93.
“Here ends my story that started from nothing,” read one message that appeared on the Costa Rica-born star's Twitter account moments after her death at a hospital in the southern Mexican city of Cuernavaca.
“At around one in the afternoon, a few minutes ago, Chavela died. She went peacefully and did not complain,” said the artist's close friend Maria Cortina, outside the hospital.
“Silence, silence: After today, bitterness will again be bitter,” read another message on her Twitter account.
According to the post-mortum Tweets, Vargas left “like the greats: with her (signature) shaman medallion and her red” poncho.
During her stay of just over a week in intensive care after returning from a trip to Spain to promote her album “La Luna Grande,” the artist asked for her shamanic medallion, a gift from the Huichol indigenous people, who called her a shaman. The Huichol believe that among other spiritual gifts, shamans can transcend death.
“I'm not going to die, because I am a shaman and we do not die, we transcend,” Vargas said Friday. That night, a group of fans came to the hospital to serenade her.
Born Isabel Vargas Lizano, she moved to Mexico when she was a teenager.
Vargas began her career singing with a guitar on the streets of Mexico City, where she was discovered by composer Jose Alfredo Jimenez.
Famed around most of the Spanish-speaking world and with many fans elsewhere, the hoarse-voiced singer, was perhaps best known for songs such as “De un mundo raro,” “La Llorona” and “Paloma Negra,” was also a living legend for her relationship with alcohol, her homosexuality and her friendship with other Mexican cultural icons such as painters Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera.