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Mexican singer, composer Armando Manzanero dies at 85

December 28, 2020 GMT
FILE - In this Oct. 30, 2001 file photo, Armando Manzanero holds his Latin Grammy Award for Best Pop Album by a Duo or Group with Vocals, for "Duetos," at a press conference in Los Angeles. The Mexican master of romantic music who penned Spanish classics such as “Somos Novios” and “Contigo Aprendí,” has died, according to Mexico's President Andrés Manuel López Obrador on Monday, Dec. 28, 2020.  (AP Photo/Nick Ut, File)
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FILE - In this Oct. 30, 2001 file photo, Armando Manzanero holds his Latin Grammy Award for Best Pop Album by a Duo or Group with Vocals, for "Duetos," at a press conference in Los Angeles. The Mexican master of romantic music who penned Spanish classics such as “Somos Novios” and “Contigo Aprendí,” has died, according to Mexico's President Andrés Manuel López Obrador on Monday, Dec. 28, 2020. (AP Photo/Nick Ut, File)
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FILE - In this Oct. 30, 2001 file photo, Armando Manzanero holds his Latin Grammy Award for Best Pop Album by a Duo or Group with Vocals, for "Duetos," at a press conference in Los Angeles. The Mexican master of romantic music who penned Spanish classics such as “Somos Novios” and “Contigo Aprendí,” has died, according to Mexico's President Andrés Manuel López Obrador on Monday, Dec. 28, 2020. (AP Photo/Nick Ut, File)

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexican ballad singer and composer Armando Manzanero died at the age of 85, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said Monday.

Manzanero was hospitalized in recent weeks with COVID-19 and at one point was on a ventilator.

But his manager, Laura Blum, said he died at a Mexico City hospital of complications from a kidney problem.

Manzanero was a crooner best known for songs like “Somos Novios,” which, with translated English lyrics, became the 1970s hit “It’s Impossible” for Perry Como.

López Obrador praised the Yucatan native as “a great composer, and the country’s best.”

“Besides that, he was a man with sensitivity, on social questions as well,” the president noted.

The president played a video clip of Manzanero singing the song “Adoro,” and appeared so overcome by emotion at the news of his death that he cut short his daily news conference.

“I do not want to continue with this press conference. It ends here,” López Obrador said before playing the clip.

Manzanero was born in Merida, the capital of Yucatan state, and his ashes will be returned there, Blum said.

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He was proud of his roots in the largely Maya indigenous state, noting “I am a Mexican of Mayan ancestry, I am a Mayan Indian.”

In a 2020 interview with The Associated Press, Manzanero expressed pride at how other artists continued to sing songs he wrote decades ago.

“The song I wrote 50 or 60 years ago is still alive,” Manzanero said. “Even flowers don’t live that long.”

He had several ex-wives, seven children and 16 grandchildren, all of whom survived him.