Roberto Gomez Bolanos, fondly known throughout Latin America as Chespirito, died Friday in Cancun from heart failure.
During a career that spanned six decades, the beloved television comedian is best known for his slapstick roles in the Televisa series El Chavo del Ocho, El Chapulin Colorado and Chespirito.
Gomez Bolanos wrote many of the shows that he appeared in, and he produced some as well. He is so popular in the Spanish-speaking world that some of his four-decades-old programs continue to air today throughout Latin America.
The Simpsons creator Matt Groening has stated in the past that the character of Bumblebee Man was based in large part on Chespirito’s Red Grasshopper character from El Chapulin Colorado.
News of Gomez Bolano’s death has prompted an outpouring of tributes on social media sites, including the following tweet from Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto: “Mexico has lost an icon whose work has transcended generations and borders.”
Televisa chief Emilio Azcarraga called Gomez Bolanos “a great person and a great friend.”
Gomez Bolanos is survived by his wife, actress and producer Florinda Meza, and six children from a previous marriage.