Mexican ballad singer and composer Armando Manzanero died Monday morning in Mexico City, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has announced. Manzanero was 85.
He was previously hospitalized as a result of coronavirus complications, and his manager Laura Blum told the Associated Press he died following difficulties with a kidney problem.
Manzanero was best known for songs such as “Somos Novios,” which, with translated English lyrics, became the 1970s hit “It’s Impossible” for American singer Perry Como. The prolific Yucatecan singer-songwriter wrote more than 400 songs throughout his six-decade career, and many were performed by singers such as Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Andrea Bocelli and Luis Miguel.
The singer was honored with Billboard’s Lifetime Achievement Award during the 2020 Billboard Latin Music Awards, where he performed some of his songs alongside Luis Fonsi, Joy, Pablo Alborán, Jesús Navarro and Joy Huerta. This December, the composer opened the Museo Casa Manzanero in his place of birth Mérida, Yucatán’s capital, dedicated to his life and artistry.
Born in 1935, Manzanero began formal music studies at the local conservatory when he was eight. After working professionally as an accompanist when he was 16 years old, he landed a job for CBS Records in Mexico, which led him to singer Lucho Gatica, who recorded his song “Voy A Apagar La Luz,” turned it into a smash hit, and took on Manzanero as his accompanist. In 1959, Manzanero released his first album as a soloist.
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 in his daily press conference.
Manzanero also won a Latin Grammy and received the lifetime achievement award from the Recording Academy and the Latin Recording Academy.
“His passing is a great loss for the world of music. Our hearts go out to the Manzanero family, to the Mexican Society of Songwriters, to his fans and to all of Mexico during this difficult time,” said Recording Academy Interim President and CEO Harvey Mason Jr. and Gabriel Abaroa Jr., president and CEO of the Latin Recording Academy.
Alborán wrote on Twitter, “Dear maestro, I will never forget your affection and our last performance together.”
Consternado por la muerte de Armando Manzanero. No puedo creerlo.
Querido maestro… jamás olvidaré tu cariño y nuestra última actuación juntos.
— Pablo Alborán (@pabloalboran) December 28, 2020