FREDDY FENDER, 1937–2006

The Mexican-American country legend passed away on Saturday.

Country legend Freddy Fender died at around noon on Saturday, Oct. 14, at his home in Corpus Christi, Texas. He was 69. The singer had lung cancer, and had been treated for diabetes and undergone kidney and liver transplants.

Born Baldemar Huerta in 1937, Freddy was a pioneer in bridging the worlds of country and traditional Mexican music. His major breakthrough came in 1974 when the Country Music Award-winning “Before The Next Teardrop Falls” topped both country and pop charts. He followed that with a gold record for “Wasted Days And Wasted Nights,” then scored the crossover smash “Since I Met You Baby.”

Between 1975 and 1977, he had nine songs in the Top 10 on the country charts. He also wrote “Secret Love,” a hit for Doris Day.

Freddy tried his hand at acting with a well-received turn in the Robert Redford-directed movie The Milagro Beanfield War. One year later, he tapped Augie Meyers, Doug Sahm and Flaco Jimenez to form the influential Tex-Mex supergroup The Texas Tornadoes. He won a Best Latin Pop Album Grammy in 2002 for his solo album La Musica de Baldemar Huerta.

Plans call for Freddy to be brought back to his hometown of San Benito for a funeral and memorial services.

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