BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — The world is mourning the loss of one of Mexico's most recognizable and cultural icons. Mexican entertainer Vicente Fernández died after being hospitalized for months after a fall at his ranch in August. He was 81 years old.
December 12th is the day many Catholics in the America's celebrate the Virgin of Guadalupe and it's also a day Vicente Fernández often sang to commemorate the day.
“The Virgin Mary and Vicente Fernández, they held the community a lot and I felt like through them two, they really uplift and show what Mexico is and how beautiful our culture is," Delano resident Alan Cazares said.
Vicente Fernández was dedicated to his faith, honoring the Virgin of Guadalupe through his music.
“It's on days like these like, you know, it hurts more to lose him because he has songs dedicated to her," Cazares said.
Fernández even made an impact on the lives of residents of Kern County. He was an inspiration who Delano resident Alan Cazares looked up to.
“For me he ended up just being honestly, probably the most impactful musician in my life because it was thanks to him that I fell in love with mariachi music, I fell in love with the culture of Mexico I ended up joining a local mariachi based here in Delano," Cazares said.
On December 12th, many bring flowers to celebrate the birth of the Virgin of Guadalupe.
“There's lots of flowers that are put below her statute and we give her thanks and we honor her and then there’s lots of candles around her kind of like a birthday cake," Jay Tamsi said.
Jay Tamsi with the Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce says thousands gathered in Delano on Sunday for a procession in her honor, while also mourning the loss of a musical icon.
“That was one of his big devotions was to sing Las Mañanitas to the Virgen de Guadalupe so it's very significant that he passed away today and that we honor her," Tamsi said.
It was felt all over Kern County. At Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Bakersfield, Diego De Luna and his family paid their respects.
“Every year on her birthday you come and give her flowers to thank her for everything she’s done for you. My family they're pretty shocked about it and that’s why we came here to also pray for him," De Luna said.
Fernández made quite the impact, selling more than 65 million albums and filmed more than 35 movies. He's a Grammy award winner and was named person of the year by the Latin Recording Academy in 2002.
“We're just really wanting to celebrate the Virgen de Guadalupe but we also want to make sure that we don't forget the memory and we never will forget the memory of Vicente Fernández who means so much to all of us in this country," Cazares said.