Colombians mourn death of star vallenato performer

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Associated Press

Posted on December 23, 2013 at 4:32 PM

Updated Monday, Dec 23 at 7:04 PM

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — Colombians are mourning the death of musician Diomedes Diaz, the best-known performer of the country's accordion-heavy vallenato music.

Fredys Soccaras, mayor of Valledupar, the singer-songwriter's hometown, told Caracol radio that Diaz died Sunday of a heart attack after being rushed to a hospital. He was 56.

From a poor childhood on a farm near Colombia's Caribbean coast, Diaz rose to become one of the top-selling artists of the musical genre revered in Colombia. He was honored with a Latin Grammy for best vallenato album in 2010.

Diaz was also known for his off-stage excesses, including a lifelong battle with drugs and alcohol and a conviction for trying to cover up the overdose death of a fan at his home.

His death came three days after he released a new CD.

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