Xavier López, a Mexican American entertainer and TV icon better known as “Chabelo,” died on Saturday (March 25) at 88. His family confirmed the news on his official Twitter account.
“This is a very sad morning,” his family wrote. “Xavier Lopez Chabelo, father, brother and husband has left us suddenly, due to abdominal complications.”
They added: “With a torn soul and knowing that many and many people have loved him for many years and that they will feel his departure, we ask you to pray for his rest and give us the opportunity to spend in peace the mourning that overwhelms our entire family.”
Born in Chicago in 1935, López rose to fame as the star of the TV series En familia con Chabelo, which aired on Sunday mornings in Mexico from 1968 to 2012. López holds two Guinness World Records: one for the longest career as a children’s television host (44 years) and the other for the longest TV character portrayal (57 years).
Other shows that López was featured on included La Cuchufleta, Los Simuladores, and La Güereja Quiere Más, and several movies like Chabelo y Pepito Contra Los Monstruos and El Extra.
López’s fans mourned his death online as soon as the news was announced. Jorge R. Gutierrez, writer and director of Netflix’s animated series Maya and the Three and the animated film The Book of Life, said, “Adios, Maestro Chabelo.”
Latin Grammy Award-nominated Mexican singer and songwriter Fey thanked him for entertaining her on TV while growing up. “The eternal child of television!” she wrote. “Thank you for accompanying our childhood and bringing so much joy to every Mexican home! What a great honor to have shared! Fly high.”
Well-known Mexican journalist Adela Micha thanked López for showing everyone how the happiness of a child is in all of us. “The man who filled us with laughter, the one who brought families together in front of the television to share joy,” Micha wrote. “My dear Chabelo, thank you for making so many generations remember the child that we all carry inside.”