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Photos: Remembering the life and legacy of Mexico's King of Rancheras

Flowers and candles surround the Hollywood Walk of Fame star of the late Mexican musician Vicente Fernandez, Monday, Dec. 13, 2021, in Los Angeles.
Chris Pizzelo
/
AP
Flowers and candles surround the Hollywood Walk of Fame star of the late Mexican musician Vicente Fernandez, Monday, Dec. 13, 2021, in Los Angeles.

The death of singer Vicente Fernández — nicknamed "El Chente" — hit hard for Mexicans around the world, particularly for the older generation. He was known to his many fans as El Rey — the King — of Ranchera, a musical style rooted in the values and traditions of rural Mexico.

He was born and died in Guadalajara, Mexico, the epicenter of ranchera music. For more than half a century, the mustachioed mariachi superstar belted out songs like Volver Volver, an anthem to lost love. With his elegant charro suit, a magnificent wide-brimmed sombrero and a pistol on his hip, he was a cultural icon. During his long career, he sold more than 50 million albums, starred in dozens of films, won three Grammys, eight Latin Grammys, and left a musical legacy.

In one of his most popular songs, El Rey, he sang "el día que yo me muera sé que tendrás que llorar." Translation: "On the day I die I know you will have to cry." This week, those lyrics came to be, as his family, friends and many fans mourned, from the Los Tres Potrillos ranch where he was laid to rest in Tlajomulco de Zúñiga, Jalisco state, Mexico, to Hollywood, Calif., where he has a star on the Walk of Fame.

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View of candles and flowers to honor Mexican singer Vicente Fernandez outside the Rancho los Tres Potrillos in Tlajomulco, Mexico, on December 12, 2021, on the day of his death. - Fernandez, the most important representative of ranchera music in Mexico, died Sunday in Guadalajara at 81, after remaining in the hospital for almost five months due to a domestic accident, his family informed.
Ulises Ruiz / AFP via Getty Images
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AFP via Getty Images
View of candles and flowers to honor Mexican singer Vicente Fernández outside the Rancho los Tres Potrillos in Tlajomulco, Mexico, on Dec. 12, on the day of his death. Fernández, the most important representative of ranchera music in Mexico, died Sunday in Guadalajara at 81, after remaining in the hospital for almost five months due to a domestic accident, his family informed.
Musicians pay tribute to Mexican singer Vicente Fernandez outside the Rancho los Tres Potrillos in Tlajomulco, Mexico, on December 12, 2021, on the day of his death.
/ Ulises Ruiz/AFP via Getty Images
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Ulises Ruiz/AFP via Getty Images
Musicians pay tribute to Mexican singer Vicente Fernández outside the Rancho los Tres Potrillos in Tlajomulco, Mexico, on Dec. 12, on the day of his death.
A fan of Mexican singer Vicente Fernandez arrives in a car with his portrait outside the Country 2000 hospital where he died, in Guadalajara, Mexico, on December 12, 2021. - Fernandez, the most important representative of ranchera music in Mexico, died Sunday in Guadalajara at 81, after remaining in the hospital for almost five months due to a domestic accident, his family informed.
/ Ulises Ruiz/AFP via Getty Images
/
Ulises Ruiz/AFP via Getty Images
A fan of Mexican singer Vicente Fernández arrives in a car with his portrait outside the Country 2000 hospital where he died, in Guadalajara, Mexico, on Dec. 12.
The body of Mexican singer Vicente Fernandez is carried in a carriage on the Chapala highway towards "Los Tres Potrillos" Ranch in Tlajomulco, Mexico, on December 10, 2021.
/ Ulises Ruiz/AFP via Getty Images
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Ulises Ruiz/AFP via Getty Images
The body of Mexican singer Vicente Fernández is carried in a carriage on the Chapala highway toward Los Tres Potrillos Ranch in Tlajomulco, Mexico, on Dec. 10.
The sons of Mexican singer Vicente Fernandez, Gerardo (L-Front), Alejandro (R-back), Vicente Jr (R) and his widow Maria del Refugio Abarca (R-Front), mourn next to his coffin during his funeral at "Los Tres Potrillos" ranch in Tlajomulco de Zuñiga, Jalisco state, Mexico, on December 13, 2021.
/ Ulises Ruiz/AFP via Getty Images
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Ulises Ruiz/AFP via Getty Images
The sons of Mexican singer Vicente Fernández, Gerardo (L-Front), Alejandro (R-back), Vicente Jr (R) and his widow Maria del Refugio Abarca (R-Front), mourn next to his coffin during his funeral at "Los Tres Potrillos" ranch in Tlajomulco de Zúñiga, Jalisco state, Mexico, on Dec. 13.
The coffin of Mexican singer Vicente Fernandez is displayed during his funeral at "Los Tres Potrillos" ranch in Tlajomulco de Zuñiga, Jalisco state, Mexico, on December 13, 2021.
/ Ulises Ruiz/AFP via Getty Images
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Ulises Ruiz/AFP via Getty Images
The coffin of Mexican singer Vicente Fernández is displayed during his funeral at "Los Tres Potrillos" ranch in Tlajomulco de Zúñiga, Jalisco state, Mexico, on Dec. 13.
The coffin of Mexican singer Vicente Fernandez is displayed during his funeral at "Los Tres Potrillos" ranch in Tlajomulco de Zuñiga, Jalisco state, Mexico, on December 13, 2021.
/ Ulises Ruiz/AFP via Getty Images
/
Ulises Ruiz/AFP via Getty Images
The coffin of Mexican singer Vicente Fernández is displayed during his funeral at "Los Tres Potrillos" ranch in Tlajomulco de Zúñiga, Jalisco state, Mexico, on Dec. 13.
The coffin of Mexican singer Vicente Fernandez is displayed during his funeral at "Los Tres Potrillos" ranch in Tlajomulco de Zuñiga, Jalisco state, Mexico, on December 13, 2021.
/ Ulises Ruiz/AFP via Getty Images
/
Ulises Ruiz/AFP via Getty Images
The coffin of Mexican singer Vicente Fernández is displayed during his funeral at "Los Tres Potrillos" ranch in Tlajomulco de Zúñiga, Jalisco state, Mexico, on Dec. 13.

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As an arts correspondent based at NPR West, Mandalit del Barco reports and produces stories about film, television, music, visual arts, dance and other topics. Over the years, she has also covered everything from street gangs to Hollywood, police and prisons, marijuana, immigration, race relations, natural disasters, Latino arts and urban street culture (including hip hop dance, music, and art). Every year, she covers the Oscars and the Grammy awards for NPR, as well as the Sundance Film Festival and other events. Her news reports, feature stories and photos, filed from Los Angeles and abroad, can be heard on All Things Considered, Morning Edition, Weekend Edition, Alt.latino, and npr.org.
Grace Widyatmadja
Grace Widyatmadja is a photo editing intern working with NPR's visuals desk and Goats & Soda.