Argentine-born singer-songwriter Luis Aguile, whose global hits include Juanita Banana and Cuando Sali de Cuba (When I Left Cuba), has died in Madrid. He was 73.
His niece, Ana Maria Poncet, confirmed that the performer passed away Saturday afternoon in a hospital after a battle with stomach cancer.
"He handled his illness with great dignity," Victor Saboya, his manager and friend over the past 12 years, told the Latin American Herald Tribune.
Born Luis Maria Aguilera Picca on Feb. 24, 1936, in Buenos Aires, Aguile moved in 1963 to Spain, where his music career soared.
Aguile appeared on many music television shows there.
He composed about 400 songs and recorded more than 700 in total. He dedicated When I Left Cuba to the Cubans who left their country after Fidel Castro took power. The song became a battle cry for exiled Cubans everywhere.
Aguile was also known in Spain as a writer of children's books.
Saboya said the singing star was working on two major projects before he died: a zarzuela, a type of Spanish operetta, titled Viva Madrid, Grandes Exitos de Broadway (Long Live Madrid, Big Broadway Hits); and an homage to Martin Fierro, a work by Argentine poet Jose Hernandez.
Saboya called the Martin Fierro homage "a brilliant piece" and said he hopes to stage it in the future as a tribute to Aguile.
Aguile is to be buried in Madrid.