Argentina's Elvis, Sandro, dies at 64

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The Independent Culture

The singer Sandro, nicknamed Argentina's Elvis for his seductive balladeering and sensual hip gyrations, has died at age 64 from an infection following heart and lung surgery, doctors announced.

"Sandro died as a result of septic shock, at 8:40 pm local time (2340 GMT Monday)," said Claudio Burgos, a doctor at the Italian hospital in the western Argentine city of Mendoza.

Burgos told media gathered at the hospital that the star's health took a turn for the worse after a November 20, 2009 transplant operation.

After his death was made public, thousands of tearful mourners gathered in front of the hospital to pay their respects to the crooner, known affectionately as "El Gitano" - the gypsy - to legions of adoring fans.

Some well wishers left handwritten notes, religious trinkets, lit candles and flowers in front of the hospital, as they bid farewell to the beloved singer.

Fans also thronged the Congress building in Buenos Aires, where Sandro is to lie in repose. His body was transported to the Argentine capital in the early hours of Tuesday.

Born Roberto Sanchez, Sandro died following a long period of ill health brought about by a years-long addiction to tobacco.

When he was starting out in the early 1960s, Sandro and his backup band covered Spanish versions of hits from performers as diverse at The Beatles, Elvis, Paul Anka and the Rolling Stones.

But over more than four decades of music-making, he was most closely associated with romantic ballads like the hit song "Rosa, Rosa" which won him adoring fans throughout the Spanish-speaking world, especially among women middle-aged and older.

Over the course of his long career, Sandro made 36 records and 16 movies in addition to his numerous appearances on Spanish-language soap operas.