Paco de Lucia, who has been described as “one of history’s greatest guitarists”, has died aged 66.
The son of a flamenco guitarist he was born Francisco Sanchez Gomez in Algeciras in south east Spain.
He was in Mexico where he had lived for five years in the late 1990s relaxing on the beach on holiday with members of his family when he suffered a heart attack.
Mexican authorities said he had died in a hospital where he had been taken after complaining of pains in his chest.
The mayor of Algeciras has decreed two days of official mourning in memory of the musician who took the genre of flamenco – the traditional gypsy music of Spain beyond the borders of his homeland.
He was introduced to the guitar at an early age by his father who imposed a strict regime on his son forcing him to practice up to 12 hours a day every day to ensure he would find success as a professional musician.
It paid off and de Lucia became a world renowned figure not just for his genius playing flamenco but he was also influential in classical and jazz circles while he gained recognition as a producer and composer as well.
Eric Clapton referred to de Lucia as “a titanic figure in the world of flamenco guitar”.
De Lucia himself said: “With the guitar I’ve suffered a great deal, but when I’ve had a good time, the suffering seemed worthwhile.”