San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
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Beloved street guitarist Marito Mortadela dies in San José hospital

The famous San José street guitarist known as Marito Mortadela died Friday. He had spent two days in San Juan de Dios Hospital after entering cardiac arrest while eating lunch in downtown San José on Wednesday. He would have turned 59 this year.

Marito was also hospitalized almost exactly one year ago after he was struck by a car after suffering a convulsion in the street.

Born Mario Bolaños Quirós in 1955 in a San José slum, the mentally disabled man began playing music along Avenida Central forty years ago to make a living.

Known for his unintelligible lyrics and plastic toy guitar, Marito became a fixture in the capital. He once said the lyrics to his ditties were dedicated “to his mom in heaven” who died when he was 14.

In 2008, artist Mario Gilberto Solano Quirós painted a statue in honor of Marito. The statue, part of the city-wide “Cow Parade” exhibit, will remain in the spot where Marito regularly played his music.


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There is nothing to be shamed of; every major city has slums everywhere in the world
The shame is in not caring for the unfortunate.

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He was a very sweet man.

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Mark Lugo

Is it necessary to call SAN JOSE a SLUM? Runner, runner has done enough of job of destroying the image of Costa Rica.

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Matt Levin

Nobody called San José a slum.

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