After a long life and musical career in Venezuela, renowned folk singer Simón Diaz has passed away. He was affectionately known as Uncle Simón in his homeland of Venezuela, and had released several albums during his lifetime.
He did not gain the fame that some foreigners do in the United States, but it is likely that some people in the US would still be able to recognize some of his music. He died this morning at the age of 85.
After suffering from a long battle with Alzheimer’s, Simón Diaz died peacefully in his home in Caracas, Venezuela. He was born Simón Narciso Díaz Márquez, in Barbacoas, Venezuela.
The news was revealed to the world through his daughter, Bettsimar Díaz, who announced his death over Twitter.
Con lágrimas le anuncio al país que mi amado padre, partió esta mañana, en paz.
— Bettsimar Díaz (@BettsimarDiaz) February 19, 2014
Diaz was beloved in his homeland, and was also the songwriter of the popular song “Caballo Viejo,” which was made popular by Julio Iglesias, Ruben Blades, and Placido Domingo, among others. “Caballo Viejo” in particular was able to make him internationally famous, due to the amount of people that have covered it–continually making it more and more popular.
Throughout his lengthy career, Diaz released more than seventy albums, and has also worked in other ways, including time as a comedian in both film and television. As a man of many talents, he was also an interpreter of Venezuelan country music, and he was dedicated to keeping the gaita and other traditional genres alive, while sticking to his roots.
In addition to his work in television as a comedian, Simón Diaz also had a children’s television show. He was known throughout Venezuela for the show Contesto por Tío Simón, which aired in the 1970s and 1980s.
Simón Diaz will be remembered as one of the great singers, and songwriters, to sing in the Spanish language. He was honored with a lifetime achievement award from the Latin Grammy Awards in 2008.
I’m in complete shock at the news of his passing. My thoughts & prayers go wholeheartedly out to Simón Díaz's family. Adiós, Tío Simon –DB
— Devendra Banhart (@DevendraBanhart) February 19, 2014
So sad to hear of Simon Diaz's passing. His lyrics, music, and voice are a constant source of inspiration. @BettsimarDiaz
— Gregory Rogove (@GregoryRogove) February 19, 2014
RIP Simon Diaz, true legend
— Cardopusher (@Cardopusher) February 19, 2014
Image via Wikimedia Commons