Latin America & Caribbean

Gustavo Cerati: Argentine rock legend dies after long coma

Cerati, Caracas, 15 May 2010 Image copyright AP
Image caption Cerati had a stroke shortly after this 15 May 2010 concert in Caracas

One of Latin America's most popular rock stars, Gustavo Cerati, has died, four years after falling into a coma.

Cerati, 55, suffered a stroke at the end of a concert in May 2010 in Venezuela and never recovered.

The Argentine musician was the lead singer of the Soda Stereo band, which achieve huge success across the Spanish-speaking world in the 1980s.

Cerati later pursued a successful solo career and worked with younger artists, including Colombian star Shakira.

In her Twitter account, she paid a tribute to the late artist: "Gustavo, our most important song is yet to be written. I love you, my friend. And I know you love me."

Cerati died from a respiratory arrest on Thursday morning at a Buenos Aires clinic.

'Health scare'

Soda, as the band was better known, was formed in 1982 by Cerati - guitarist and vocalist - bass player Hector "Zeta" Bosio and drummer Charly Alberti.

It was a period that coincided with a deep economic crisis in South America with the beginning of the end of the military regimes that had thrived in the previous decade.

Argentina had just lost the Falklands War, which precipitated the end of the dictatorship.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Fans have been paying their tribute to Cerati outside the clinic where he died on Thursday morning
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Cerati performed with Colombian pop star Shakira in 2008
Image copyright AP
Image caption The Buenos Aires-born artist won two Latin Grammy awards in 2006

The band's biggest hits - Cuando Pase el Temblor, Musica Ligera and La Ciudad de la Furia - became anthems for a whole generation in Latin America and Spain in the 1980s and 1990s.

Cerati mentioned the British rock band The Police as one of Soda's main influences.

Soda split up in 1997 but reunited briefly in 2007 for a farewell tour.

In a 2006 interview with the Rolling Stone magazine, Cerati talked about cocaine binges in his days with the band.

He also said that he had stopped smoking after a health scare.

"After you reach 40, these situations force you to change your way of life," he said.