Food Walter Mercado, Popular Puerto Rican Astrologer, Dies At 88


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SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Walter Mercado, a flamboyant astrologer and television temperament whose everyday Television set appearances entertained several across Latin America and the U.S. for far more than a ten years, has died. He was 88.

Medical center spokeswoman Sofía Luquis explained to The Associated Push on Sunday that Mercado died from kidney failure at the Auxilio Mutuo Medical center in San Juan late Saturday. He had been residing in the suburb of Cupey and had expended various days in the clinic ahead of his loss of life.

“He is one particular of these people today who utilized his celeb and electricity to reach millions in order to encourage persons with very good messages,” explained Aida Levitan, who helped arrange an exhibition in August at the HistoryMiami museum to honor Mercado.

She explained hundreds of folks confirmed up and preferred to meet him and choose shots, and he agreed to it all.

“It’s not effortless at the age of 88 to facial area five hundred individuals making an attempt to acquire shots. He never misplaced his awesome,” Levitan recalled in a cellphone interview with the AP. “He made use of all his presents and skills for the very good of mankind and that is what would make him so desirable.”

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Mercado was born in Ponce, a single of Puerto Rico’s most significant towns. He worked briefly for Television stations primarily based in the U.S. Caribbean territory prior to shifting to South Florida.

There, he obtained fame for his daily horoscope section on Spanish-language Tv, delivered in a dramatic trend with an exaggerated trilling of the “r″ audio. He favored very long and vibrant brocades and huge gemstone rings, which he flashed although pointing to viewers.

His catch phrase to his audience: “Above all, plenty and a lot of love.”

Mercado under no circumstances publicly stated his sexuality, but he was an icon in the gay local community as another person who challenged the conservative tv tradition in Latin The us.

“He endows the drag queen with papal authority,” Diana Taylor, a New York College Tisch School of Executing Arts professor, wrote in a 2003 critique.

Alex Fumero, a Los Angeles-based filmmaker who has used two decades doing work on a documentary about Mercado, stated the astrologer was an unlikely icon in the Latino community.

“This is a society that is been dominated by machismo and homophobia for a pretty prolonged time. For anyone who so brazenly played with gender and sexuality and generally remained something of a mystery…he was definitely brave,” Fumero reported in a mobile phone interview.

He recalled becoming struck by Mercado’s big assortment of publications in his dwelling.

“He can talk to you about Anna Karenina. He’s a true mental in that feeling,” Fumero claimed, including that Mercado also was particularly form. “He was a person of the most loving persons. Staying all around him, you felt excellent.”

Mercado, even so, also confronted some lawful battles.

In 1998, he acquired in difficulties for endorsing alleged overall health and magnificence products and was named in a class-motion lawsuit that accused him of misleading folks into shopping for beads with supposed distinctive powers. The president of the jewellery organization, Special Gems Intercontinental Corp., was afterwards sentenced to 14 several years in jail for defrauding sixteen,000 folks in a $ninety million fraud.

In October 2010, Mercado declared he was switching his name to “Shanti Ananda.” That exact same calendar year, he stopped taking pictures his segment for the Univision Spanish-language Tv set channel. Months afterwards, he began to deliver every day horoscopes via El Nuevo Herald newspaper in Miami.

Mercado was hospitalized in December 2011 in Puerto Rico subsequent a chilly that turned into pneumonia. His health ailment worsened, and he was transferred to a clinic in Ohio. It was later unveiled that he experienced suffered a heart assault.

In 2014, he introduced a web-site named passionlatinos.com that offered horoscopes, on the web dating and an array of products and solutions called “Captivating,” that integrated fragrances, candles, soaps and system lotions aimed at prosperity, intercourse, health, peace and enjoy.

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