Cuban singer Pablo Milanes dies in Madrid at 79: agent

In this file photo taken on December 4, 2014 Cuban musician Pablo Milanes sings during the inauguration of the XXXVI Latin-American Cinema Festival at Karl Marx theater. Milanes died in Madrid on Novembre 22, 2022, his agent said. (Photo: AFP)

Acclaimed Cuban singer-songwriter and guitarist Pablo Milanes died early Tuesday in Spain, where he had been hospitalized in recent days, his agent said. He was 79.

"It is with great pain and sadness that we inform you that the maestro Pablo Milanes died this morning, November 22, in Madrid," his agency said on the singer's official Facebook page.

Cuba's Prime Minister Manuel Marrero Cruz said on Twitter that "culture in Cuba is mourning the passing" of Milanes.

The writer of songs such as "Yolanda" and "Breve espacio" had been hospitalized in Madrid, where he had lived since 2017 so that he could receive medical treatment.

On November 11, his office said he was "stable" and being treated for a series of recurrent infections that in recent months had been affecting his health.

The artist rose to prominence following the Cuban revolution of 1959, and gained renown both on and off the island as he became a leader of the Nueva Trova musical movement.

He inspired and was influenced by artists from a variety of musical genres in Latin America as well as Spain, Portugal and Puerto Rico.

Milanes had to cancel his final concerts planned for later this month in Spain and the Dominican Republic.

But in June he made one last visit to Havana, after a three-year absence, where the performer known in Cuba as Pablito gave an emotional concert before some 10,000 fans.

Born on February 24, 1943 in Bayamo in Cuba's east, Milanes at first embraced the Cuban revolution only to distance himself later, but never broke the bond that united him with Cubans through his music.