Walter Mercado, a flamboyant astrologer and an iconic presence on Spanish-language TV for many years, died in San Juan, Puerto Rico on Sunday.
He was 88.
A spokeswoman for Auxilio Mutuo Hospital mentioned Mercado died of kidney failure.
Beloved by thousands and thousands of tv viewers, Mercado delivered day by day horoscopes with a message of “tons and plenty of love.”
“He endows the drag queen with papal authority,” New York College Tisch Faculty of Performing Arts Professor Diana Taylor wrote in 2003.
Mercado by no means publicly said his sexuality, however turned an icon within the homosexual group and an unlikely common determine in Latino group, mentioned Los Angeles filmmaker Alex Fumero, who spent two years engaged on a documentary about Mercado.
“This can be a tradition that’s been dominated by machismo and homophobia for a really very long time,” Fumero mentioned. “He was probably the most loving individuals. Being round him, you felt good.”
Mercado was born March 9, 1932, aboard a Spanish ship certain for Puerto Rico, CNN reported.
He was raised in Ponce, and commenced his profession as an actor and dancer, making appearances in numerous “telenovelas” — common Spanish-language tv cleaning soap operas — in Puerto Rico.
His profession as a TV astrologer started by likelihood in 1969, when the common horoscope wiz at the Telemundo Puerto Rico TV station failed to indicate up and the community put Mercado on as a substitute, in accordance with Spanish-language WIPR-TV.
The station was flooded with calls asking for Mercado to return, the station mentioned.
On the peak of his recognition, his day by day horoscope readings, accomplished with dramatic aptitude, reached 120 million viewers.
Mercado moved to Univision in Miami in 1990, showing on “Primer Impacto.”
He left the community in 2010 and later wrote a column for El Nuevo Heraldo, the Miami Herald’s Spanish-language arm.
He additionally launched a web site in 2015 the place he would supply readings and reply questions.
“He’s a kind of individuals who used his celeb and energy to achieve thousands and thousands with the intention to encourage individuals with good messages,” mentioned Aida Levitan, who helped set up an exhibit at the Historical past Miami museum in August to honor Mercado.
“He used all his items and skills for the nice of mankind and that’s what makes him so interesting.”
With Publish wires