Diomedes Diaz Dies: Colombian Vallenato Singing Star Was 56

Monday, 23 Dec 2013 12:07 PM

By Michael Mullins

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Diomedes Diaz, the Colombian vallenato singer, died of a heart attack on Sunday. He was 56.

Having won a Latin Grammy for best vallenato album in 2010, Diaz grew up in poverty on a farm near Colombia's Caribbean coast. He eventually made a name for himself in the accordion-heavy vallenato music scene and became one of the top-selling artists of the musical genre revered throughout Colombia, the Associated Press reported.

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Fredys Soccaras, mayor of Valledupar, the city where the singer-songwriter lived, confirmed Diaz's death, which death came three days after the release of his new album.


The Columbian folk music star was known for his off-stage excesses, having long battled drugs and alcohol abuse throughout his career, the AP noted.

At the height of his career in 1997, Diaz was sentenced to 12 years in jail for homicide after a fan was found dead at his home. Initially, it appeared that the fan had overdosed inside his residence, however later forensic reports suggested she had been suffocated, the BBC reported.

Diaz's 12-year jail sentence was later reduced to six years.

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Soon after his death was announced on Sunday, hundreds of fans in his hometown of Valledupar took to the streets, the BBC noted, as the town's mayor declared four days of mourning.

According to Diaz's manager, Joaquin Guillen, the famous vallenato singer's sound "would not be slinced" in death, rather "his fans and his songs will keep him alive."

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