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 Monday, October 16, 2006

Freddy Fender, "Before the Next Teardrop Falls", Died at Age 69


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-Freddy Fender (1937-2006)

here on BBC News

Singer Freddy Fender, best known for his country hit Before The Next Teardrop Falls, has died aged 69.

The performer, who had been diagnosed with lung cancer earlier this year, died at his home in Corpus Christi, Texas, a family spokesman said.

Born Baldemar Heurta, Fender was proud of his Mexican heritage and frequently sung verses or whole songs in Spanish.

He was given a Hollywood Walk of Fame star after being personally endorsed by then-Texas governor George W Bush.

Mr Bush wrote to the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce recommending the singer receive the honour, which he did in February 1999.

Fender won a Grammy for best Latin pop album in 2002 for La Musica de Baldemar Heurta, and shared in two Grammys for his work with the Texas Tornados and Los Super Seven.

As well as his breakthrough hit Teardrop, a US number one in 1975, his other hits included Wasted Days and Wasted Nights, Secret Love and You'll Lose A Good Thing.

His career began in the late 1950s when he returned from service in the Marines, and recorded Spanish versions of hits by Elvis Presley and Harry Belafonte.

He signed with Imperial Records in 1959, naming himself Fender after the electric guitar. But he and his bass player were jailed for almost three years in 1960 for possessing marijuana, and upon his release he worked as a mechanic.

But success finally came in the 1970s, when he was persuaded to record When The Teardrop Falls on an independent label.

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