After a long battle with colon cancer, Pau Donés, frontman of Spanish band Jarabe de Palo, has died in Barcelona at 53 years of age. The news was shared on the band’s social media outlets through a brief statement by the Donés Cirera family, where they also ask for respect in these hard times.
Donés had been vocal about his illness since he was diagnosed in 2015. In 2016, he announced on Instagram he was cancer-free, only to experience recurrence less than a year later. Regardless, he and Jarabe de Palo toured in 2017 and 2018 in support of the band’s 11th album 50 Palos, a piano-and-voice reinterpretation of some of their most beloved songs.
Through a moving YouTube video posted in early January 2019, Donés announced his indefinite retirement from music to spend time to focus on his family and health. But this year, he and Jarabe de Palo returned with a song titled “Vuelvo.” “I return because music has come back to my head again/I return because getting back on stage is the only thing I think about,” he sings on the song. On May 26, only two weeks before Donés’ passing, the band released their last album Tragas o Escupes, one last thank you to his fans, his family, and music. His last music video was “Eso Que Tú Me Das.”
Born in Montanuy, Huelva, Donés began playing in bands with his brother Marc in Dentaduras Postizas (previously known as J. & Co. Band) before he formed Jarabe de Palo in the mid-90s. With their song “La Flaca,” included in their 1996 debut album by the same name, the band reached international success instantly. His prolific 20+ career produced 14 albums and unforgettable hits like “Depende,” “Bonito,” and “Agua,” and his music is now embedded in the Spanish pop-rock DNA. He will be forever missed.