Mexican TV legend Velasco dies


MEXICO CITY -- Legendary Mexican TV personality Raul Velasco, who hosted one of Latin America's most popular variety shows for nearly three decades, died Sunday in his home in Acapulco. He was 73.

Velasco hosted Televisa's "Siempre en Domingo" (Always on Sunday), which ran from 1969 to 1998. In 1998, he underwent a liver transplant, forcing the network to cancel the program.

Often referred to as "The Ed Sullivan Show" of Mexico, "Always on Sunday" served as a springboard for many important Spanish-language musical acts.

Preliminary reports say Velasco died of natural causes. Televisa's Web site noted he had been "battling several illnesses."

In a letter of condolence sent to Velasco's wife and children, President Vicente Fox called the death an "irreparable loss."

On Sunday evening, Televisa retransmitted a tribute to Velasco that had aired in October. The homage brought together some of the biggest names in Latin American show business, including Ricky Martin, Gloria Trevi and balladeer Vicente Fernandez.

The funeral service was held Monday in Mexico City.