Latin American Pop Icon Gustavo Cerati Dies at 55

Gustavo Cerati - H 2014
AP Images

Gustavo Cerati - H 2014

Former leader of popular band Soda Stereo was in a coma since 2010.

BUENOS AIRES – Argentine pop icon Gustavo Cerati, former leader of Latin America’s legendary band Soda Stereo, died on Thursday at the age of 55 at the ALCLA medical center in Buenos Aires.

Winner of four Latin Grammys and one of the most influential musicians of LatAm rock, Cerati had been in a coma since he suffered a stroke following a show in Caracas, Venezuela, in 2010.

“Sadly, Gustavo passed away this morning as a consequence of a cardio-respiratory failure we weren’t able to revert. He had kept stable all throughout this time,” said a spokesman for the clinic.

Family members announced the musician's public wake would be held at the Buenos Aires Legislature.

Cerati’s death became a LatAm trending topic on Twitter, where Ricky Martin and Shakira posted their goodbyes. Also, Argentine President Cristina Kirchner posted a photo and a video of Cerati playing alongside local rock legend Luis Alberto Spinetta, who died in 2012.

“Cerati and ‘Flaco’ Spinetta, popular idols for several generations of Argentines”, she posted.  

Influenced by British pop and the New Wave scene, Cerati formed Soda Stereo with bassist Zeta Bosio and drummer Charly Alberti in the early 80s. They were the first and — to date — only Argentine pop band that managed to cross borders and become hugely popular all across Latin American countries in the 1980s and 1990s.

The band released seven albums with Sony Music between 1984 and 1994, selling millions of records and consolidating an unprecedented career until their official break-up in 1997, after which Cerati began a successful solo stint with hit albums Amor Amarillo, Bocanada, Siempre es hoy and Ahi vamos.

Soda Stereo returned in 2007 with record-breaking tour The Last Concert, during which they packed stadiums in Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama, Peru, the U.S., Venezuela and Buenos Aires, where they sold out the River Plate Stadium six times, beating the Rolling Stones' previously held record of five concerts in the city's largest venue.