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Oscar Chávez, famed Mexican protest singer, dies of COVID-19 at 85

A note on Chavez’s personal twitter account, signed by his staff, said he had been hospitalized Wednesday with symptoms of the disease caused by the coronavirus.

In this 2007 file photo, masked Zapatista rebel leader Subcomandante Marcos (left), singer Oscar Chavez (center) and Zapatista commanders Tacho (second from right) and David talk during a meeting in Mexico City. 
In this 2007 file photo, masked Zapatista rebel leader Subcomandante Marcos (left), singer Oscar Chavez (center) and Zapatista commanders Tacho (second from right) and David talk during a meeting in Mexico City. 
AP

MEXICO CITY — One of Mexico’s best-known protest singers, Oscar Chávez, has died at age 85, apparently after being infected with the coronavirus.

Mexico’s culture secretary confirmed the singer’s death, but the Social Security Institute would not comment on local media reports saying he died Thursday of complications from COVID-19. A note on Chavez’s personal twitter account, signed by his staff, said he had been hospitalized Wednesday with symptoms of the disease caused by the coronavirus.

Chávez was best known for folk-style songs lampooning Mexico’s corrupt political elite. One such song was “La Casita” (“The Little House”), which described an imaginary politician’s mansion.

Culture Secretary Alejandra Frausto wrote in her Twitter account: “Thank you, Oscar Chávez, your life was journey worthy of you! My deepest sympathy to your relatives, friends and companions in struggle and song.”

Interior Secretary Olga Sánchez wrote: “I have learned to my deep regret that a voice of the struggle has been silenced. My deepest sympathy to the family of Oscar Chávez.”

Chávez sang ballads since the 1960s and played in public as recently as 2019.

Mexico has reported 19,224 confirmed coronavirus cases and 1,859 deaths.

On Thursday, Miguel Angel Osorio Chong, a former interior secretary and current senator for the old ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party, wrote in his Twitter account that he had tested positive for coronavirus and would self-isolate at home.