Legendary Spanish balladeer Camilo Sesto passed away this Sunday at 72 years old, as it was confirmed on his Twitter account. Born Camilo Blanes Cortés, the artist was rushed to the hospital on September 8 at 1:30 AM local time after suffering a cardiopulmonary arrest related to ongoing kidney issues, and he was pronounced dead three hours later.
Camilo Sesto was a beloved artist across generations and on both sides of the Atlantic. Born in Alicante, he kicked off his career as a teenager as part of the group Los Dayson, but he took off as a solo artist after releasing his sophomore album Algo de mí in 1971, which went straight to number one on the Spanish charts.
He excelled as a singer and songwriter among his peers, amassing over 50 number one hits worldwide, including romantic songs like “Vivir Así es Morir de Amor,” “Perdóname,” and “Donde Estés, Con Quien Estés.” José José, Miguel Bosé, and Ángela Carrasco were some of the artists for whom he wrote and produced songs. In Latin America, he reached peak popularity after participating on OTI festival in 1973 with “Algo Más.”
Spanning over 40 albums in his 50-years career, Sesto’s body of work will be remembered for his ballads, many of which he compiled on his last release, 2018’s Camilo Sinfónico, a symphonic rendition of selection from his back catalogue featuring duets with Spanish singers Marta Sánchez, Pastora Soler, Ruth Lorenzo, and Mónica Naranjo.
Although Sesto lived a relatively quiet life, he made waves on the 1975 conservative Spanish society during the latter days of Francisco Franco’s dictatorship when he translated, financed, produced, and starred in his own adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Jesus Christ Superstar, opening the door for large-scale musical theater in Spain.
Camilo Sesto made an indelible print on the history of Iberoamerican music and will be missed by millions of fans around the world. Rest in peace.