Don Fidencio, the Elderly Paletero Who Went Viral 3 Years Ago, Has Died

Lead Photo: Art by Stephany Torres for Remezcla
Art by Stephany Torres for Remezcla
Read more

Fidencio Sánchez, the Chicago paletero who captured our hearts, has died.

Three years ago, the internet rallied around Sánchez after an image of him went viral. The then-89-year-old street vendor was documented struggling to push a paleta cart in the Little Village area of Chicago. Joel Cervantes Macias took the photo and started a GoFundMe account for Fidencio. In three days, people raised more than $260,000 for Sánchez. After their only daughter died, Don Fidencio and his wife, Doña Eladia, were saddled with news expenses. They were both selling paletas, but Eladia had become injured in 2016.

In the time since Cervantes went viral, he has remained in contact with Fidencio and his family. Cervantes posted an update on Facebook. “I’m afraid I have some very sad news today,” he wrote today. “This morning at 5:53 a.m. Don Fidencio passed away from complications of Sepsis. His family asked me to be the one to give the official notice of his passing. The family wants to give thanks to everybody from around the world that made his last three years of life happy and comfortable. He was amongst family and loved ones by his bedside when he passed. Information on his services to follow. Rest In Peace Don Fidencio.”