Argentina's Grammy-winning Gustavo Cerati dead at 55

Thu Sep 4, 2014 3:31pm EDT
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By Jorge A. Otaola

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Argentine musician Gustavo Cerati, a flamboyant showman who brought stadium rock to Latin America with his band Soda Stereo, died on Thursday at age 55.

Grammy-winning Cerati had been in a coma since suffering a stroke in May 2010, after a show in Venezuela.

"This morning, patient Gustavo Cerati passed away," said a statement from the Buenos Aires hospital where he was receiving care.

Soda, as most fans call the group, shot to fame across Latin America and in Spain in the 1980s with a distinctive, harmonious rock-pop sound and a slick image that set them apart from other Latin rock acts and set the stage for future Latin American stars.

Colombian pop idol Shakira said on Facebook: "Gustavo, our most important song of all has yet to be written. I love you, my friend. And I know you love me. As you taught me, 'I will use love as a bridge' which will keep us together forever."

Guitarist and vocalist Cerati formed Soda with bass player Zeta Bosio and drummer Charly Alberti in 1982, just as Argentina's military dictatorship started to crumble following a brief war in the British-ruled Falkland Islands.

During a career that spanned three decades, he received a string of musical accolades including Latin Grammys and MTV awards, both with Soda Stereo and for his numerous solo projects.

Sony Music signed Soda and the band went on to record seven albums between 1984 and 1995, including Signos (Signs), which propelled them to regional fame, and Cancion Animal (Animal Song), perhaps their most popular record.   Continued...

A woman writes a phrase on a giant picture of Argentine singer Gustavo Cerati fixed on a wall in front of the clinic where Cerati died today at the age of 55, in Buenos Aires September 4, 2014. REUTERS/Enrique Marcarian