February 26, 2014 - 15:30 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Renowned Spanish guitarist Paco de Lucia has died aged 66 in Mexico, reportedly of a heart attack while playing with his children on a beach, BBC News reports.
The death of one of the most celebrated flamenco guitarists was announced by the mayor's office in Algeciras in southern Spain, where he was born.
He is said to have died in the Mexican resort of Cancun.
Famous for a series of flamenco albums in the 1970s, he also crossed over into classical and jazz guitar. He also worked on films by Spanish director Carlos Saura, notably appearing in his 1983 version of Carmen, which won a UK Bafta award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1985.
Algeciras is to hold two days of official mourning. Its mayor, Jose Ignacio Landaluce, called the musician's death an "irreparable loss for the world of culture and for Andalusia".
He had lived both in Mexico and in Spain in recent years.
He was born Francisco Sanchez Gomez on Dec 21, 1947, the son of flamenco guitarist Antonio Sanchez, who was of Gypsy origin. His stage name he took in honor of his mother, Lucia Gomes.
It is believed he had played the guitar from the age of five.
"My family grew up with the Gypsies," the guitarist was quoted as saying in a 1994 article in Guitar Player. "My father and all my brothers played guitar, so before I picked it up, before I could speak, I was listening. Before I started to play, I knew every rhythm of the flamenco. I knew the feeling and the meaning of the music, so when I started to play, I went directly to the sound I had in my ear."
At the age of 18 he recorded his first album in Madrid.
One of the great musical partnerships of his life was with the singer Camaron de la Isla, who died in 1992. The two men recorded albums in the 1970s which inspired a New Flamenco movement.
In 2004, Paco de Lucia was awarded Spain's prestigious Asturias Prize for Art as the "most universal of flamenco artists".
"His style has been a beacon for young generations and his art has made him into one of the best ambassadors of Spanish culture in the world," the jury said at the time.
Among those he worked with outside Spain was British guitarist John McLaughlin.