Dennis M. Rivera Pichardo / AP
Walter Mercado, the popular astrologer who made himself popular with millions of Spanish television viewers for more than three decades, died Saturday in Puerto Rico. He was 87.
Sofía Luquis, a spokeswoman for the Auxilio Mutuo Hospital in San Juan, confirmed Mercado's death on The Associated Press and said he had died of kidney failure.
Mercado was known throughout Latin America and USA for his horoscope readings and predictions.
His career as an astrologer began by chance when, according to CNN, he was asked in 1969 to enter on a whim for a Telemundo program. Before Mercado became a soothsayer, he worked as an actor and dancer.
Mercado's reading of the horoscope was a success, and in 1970 he began, according to The Miami Herald, with the regular broadcast of segmental reading horoscopes and forecasts for Telemundo Puerto Rico.
The way Mercado made his predictions was as popular with his fans as the messages themselves. Mercado was a fan of colorful robes and outfits decorated with gems and brooches that dazzled. Mercado has made an art form with his crazy "r" and dramatic readings from his work.
When Mercado talked about his style with The Miami Herald, he once said, "I have always liked to talk very directly to people, I used astrology to send positive messages: You can do it even if you fall, come back up again. "
His broadcasts reached an estimated 120 million Latino viewers daily for more than three decades. Mercado's extravagant character contrasted with many broadcasts broadcast on Latin American television at the time.
At the end of his program, Mercado quit the words "Pero sobre todo, mucho, mucho, mucho amor" or "Above all, much, much, much love".