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Paco De Lucia Dead: Flamenco Guitar Legend Dies At 66

Paco de Lucia Picture

Guitar legend Paco de Lucia, well known for his pivotal role in bringing flamenco folk art to the mainstream by modernizing the sound, has died on a beach in Cancun, Mexico. A report published on CNN indicated that he had died while en route to a hospital in Mexico.

Contrary to the CNN report, Quintana Roo state attorney general Gaspar Armando Garcia informed Mexico’s Enfoque Radio that the Spanish guitarist had died in the hospital and not on the way to the hospital, according to a report found on the ABC News website.

The spokesman for his hometown of Algeciras, located in the south of Spain, indicated that he suddenly became ill while playing with family members on a Cancun beach. The spokesman, Miguel Nunez, also indicated that the preliminary cause of death appears to have been a heart attack.

De Lucia, whose real name was Francisco Sanchez Gomez, was an award winning guitarist with a stunning array of achievements including the Spanish Culture Ministry’s Fine Arts Gold Medal (1992) and the the Prince of Asturias prize for the Arts (2004).

Gomez — born December 21, 1947 — even went as far as to collaborate with musicians including the only three-time inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Eric Clapton.

With all of these achievements and many more under his belt, the late musician was not as pleased with his work as one may have thought, as he was quoted during an interview back in 2012 by The Associated Press as having said:

I don’t like any of my albums. The ones I like, I mean, that I can stand to hear are “Siroco” and “Zyryab,” possibly because they are more flamenco and among the purest in my career.

For those that don’t know, de Lucia had no formal musical training, however, he was able to produce machine-gun-fast picado riffs at an early age. These riffs, a characteristic of flamenco guitar, impressed those around him, as they require incredible hand strength and dexterity.

This writer raises his glass to the many achievements of Paco, may his contributions through music continue to live for countless generations of musicians to come.

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