As if things for the Latino community couldn’t get any worse in the age of Donald Trump, over the weekend beloved OG astrologer Walter Mercado passed away at the age of 88.
According to the New York Post, the man who became a fixture in Latino households with his horoscope readings died in San Juan, Puerto Rico at the Auxilio Mutuo Hospital on Sunday (Nov. 3) from what doctors say was kidney failure.
For decades Walter Mercado captivated households in el barrio and had mothers silencing loud children with threats of chancletazos whenever he came on TV to give his daily horoscopes before signing off with his signature phrase wishing his viewers “mucho mucho amor.” The flamboyant Liberace of astrologers had a faithful base of followers who truly believed he was in tune with the universe and took whatever advice he would give TV viewers based on their zodiac sign from what color to wear on a certain day to which candles to light.
One of his most famous predictions came in the late 90’s when he predicted that the love between Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed would end tragically months before their untimely deaths.
And though he never commented on his sexuality, many fans assumed that he was a member of the LGBT community and actually claimed him for many years.
“He endows the drag queen with papal authority,” New York University Tisch School of Performing Arts Professor Diana Taylor wrote in 2003.
Mercado never publicly stated his sexuality, but became an icon in the gay community and an unlikely popular figure in Latino community, said Los Angeles filmmaker Alex Fumero, who spent two years working on a documentary about Mercado.
“This is a culture that’s been dominated by machismo and homophobia for a very long time,” Fumero said. “He was one of the most loving people. Being around him, you felt good.”
Walter’s style was so embraced by the Latino community that it spawned a few flamboyant imitators including El Nino Prodigio and others. None have so much as sniffed the popularity and love that Walter Mercado enjoyed throughout his career. He will be missed.
Rest in Peace, pana.
Mucho, Mucho Amor: Famed Latino Astrologist Walter Mercado Passes Away was originally published on hiphopwired.com