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Singer El Fary dies of cancer at 69

Spanish singer Jose Luis Cantero, better known as El Fary, died Tuesday at the age of 69, the Culture Ministry said.

Born in the district of Madrid's Las Ventas bullring, El Fary was one of Spain's best known singers of the flamenco-style genre known as Spanish Song. He died at home after suffering for more than a year from lung cancer.

"We've lost a popular person as well as an artist," Culture Minister Carmen Calvo said. "It's sad, both in human and artistic terms."

Cantero was a fervent admirer of traditional Spanish singers such as Antonio Marchena, Manolo Caracol, Juanito Valderrama and especially Rafael Farina. He was given his stage name because of the similarity of his high-pitched wailing form of singing to that of Farina.

He reached the height of his fame in the 1980s with his hit song "El Toro Guapo" (The Handsome Bull) and for a television series he acted in called "Menudo es mi Padre" (Some Father I Have).

He came back into the spotlight in recent years when film director Santiago Segura used one of his songs in his 1998 film "Torrente-The Dumb Arm of the Law," with both the song and the movie becoming immensely popular.

A wake for El Fary was to be held in Madrid.

It was not immediately known if he had any surviving family.

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