San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Leukemia Silences ‘Valiant’ Voice of Tica Opera Singer

Celebrated Costa Rican singer Raquel Ramírez passed away last week after a long battle with leukemia. The mezzo-soprano had graced both local and international stages for years, winning awards for a voice that was once described by a family friend as being “rare, strange and very valiant.” Ramírez was remembered Jan. 7 at a burial ceremony in Tres Ríos, east of the capital, that was attended by musicians, performers and dozens of friends and family members.

“The national art and music communities are in mourning today over the loss of an irreplaceable artist,” said Culture Vice Minister Maribel Salazar. “Raquel Ramírez was an extraordinary woman, a courageous fighter and an excellent artist. … She is gone, but her musical legacy will remain alive in the memory of all who were privileged to hear her.”

Last spring, Ramírez’s supporters were trying to raise $50,000 for a bone marrow transplant after the artist entered into her second bout with cancer. When The Tico Times spoke to friends of the singer in July, only $12,000 had been raised.

“We’ve done many activities, but it isn’t enough,” Susana Trejos, who was leading the fundraising efforts, said at the time (TT, July 17, 2009).

Ramírez, 37, died Jan. 6 at CalderónGuardiaHospital in San José.

–Chrissie Long

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