San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Singer Chavela Vargas dies at 93

MEXICO CITY – Legendary Mexican singer Chavela Vargas died Sunday at age 93. 

Her friend and biographer, María Cortina, said Vargas died at noon in a hospital in the city of Cuernavaca, where she had been admitted for heart and respiratory problems.

Vargas was born in San Joaquín de Flores, Costa Rica, on April 17, 1919. She later immigrated to Mexico at age 14, where she sang in the streets. Later, she established a career as a professional singer.

Her doctor, José Manuel Núñez, said Sunday that she had refused to accept breathing tubes or other measures to keep her alive. “She had to have a natural death,” he said.

Cortina said Vargas “went with great peace. She never complained.” She was conscious to the end, the writer said. “She sought my hand and her shamanic medallion.”

Vargas’ remains will be cremated and in a private ceremony friends will scatter her ashes at Chalchi mountain, outside her house in Tepoztlán, Morelos, Mexico, the daily El Mundo reported.

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