One of Spain’s leading flamenco singers, Enrique Morente, died Monday at a Madrid hospital where he had been in coma following an operation for an ulcer, his family said. He was 67. “After several days of a tough struggle against death, Enrique Morente, a unique performer and a wonderful person, has left an enormous void in our hearts and in the world of music, to which he devoted himself entirely and with delivery throughout his life,” his family said in a statement.
Morente had been in a coma since he underwent emergency surgery at La Luz private hospital on December 6, just two days after having the ulcer operation.
Earlier on Monday his family had said the singer had been diagnosed as brain dead although his vital signs were stable.
Criticised by some of his peers for having played with musicians from other musical styles, his admirers hail his constant efforts to modernise the centuries-old musical style that has come to represent Spain.
Born December 25, 1942 in the gypsy quarter of Granada in southern Spain, he learned flamenco from his family and other performers in the city before moving to Madrid at the age of 18 to start his career as a professional singer.
He released 20 albums over a career spanning four decades, according to his official web site. The first, “Cante Flamenco”, was released in 1967.
Morente had been working on a new album titled “El barbero de Picasso”, or “Picasso’s Barber”, a tribute to the great Spanish painter born in Malaga.
He often repeated that flamenco required a flawless technique and he adopted flamenco works by Spanish poets such as Federico Garcia Lorca and Antonio Machado.
Culture Minister Angeles Gonzalez-Sinde said he “opened different public to flamenco like no one else and was very knowledgeable about our poetry, both the classics as well as the contemporary poetry.”Morente was the first flamenco artist to receive the culture ministry’s National Music Award, in 1994.
He was married to the dancer Aurora Carbonell and has three daughters, one of them the popular flamenco singer Estrella Morente who was chosen by Oscar-winning Spanish director Pedro Almodovar to interpret the main theme of his 2006 film “Volver”.