Singer Chavela Vargas in serious condition at Mexican hospital

August 2, 2012

CUERNAVACA – A medical report released Wednesday says singer Chavela Vargas is conscious, but in poor condition due to cardiac and renal problems.

The 93-year-old singer has been hospitalized for five days in the resort city of Cuernavaca.

The artist returned last week from a trip to Spain, where she presented her new album, “The Big Moon,” in homage to Spanish poet Federico García Lorca. In Madrid, Vargas was hospitalized and required various tests.

The report says the singer suffers from congestive heart failure, chronic renal failure and lung disease.

Born in Costa Rica, Vargas rose to fame by singing “rancheras” songs while wearing men’s clothes, drinking heavily and smoking cigars.

Isabel Vargas Lizano (her real name) spent her teenage years in Mexico and began her singing career on the streets of the capital, where she was discovered by famous composer José Alfredo Jiménez.

Vargas recorded 80 albums throughout her career, becoming a major figure in Mexico and Spain. She was a frequent house guest of Mexican painters Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, and was close to Spanish writer Federico García Lorca.

More recently, she became close friends with Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar and singer-songwriter Joaquin Sabina.

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