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HomeMusicRodriguez of 'Searching for Sugar Man' dies at 81

Rodriguez of ‘Searching for Sugar Man’ dies at 81

Sixto Rodriguez, the singer-songwriter who found fame as the subject of the Oscar-winning 2012 documentary “Searching for Sugar Man,” died on Tuesday at 81.

His death was announced on his official website: “It is with great sadness that we at announce that Sixto Diaz Rodriguez has passed away earlier today. We extend our most heartfelt condolences to his daughters — Sandra, Eva and Regan — and to all his family.”

No cause of death was given.

Performing as Rodriguez, the Detroit-born artist developed an idiosyncratic blend of confessional folk and psychedelic soul on a pair of albums he released to little attention in the early 1970s. Rodriguez retired from music to work blue-collar jobs in his hometown, but those records found an unlikely audience in South Africa, earning a cult following that crested in the early 2010s with the release of “Searching for Sugar Man.”

Rodriguez performing in 2013.

(Gallo Images / Getty Images)

Simultaneously celebrating and puncturing the myths that rose in the absence of concrete facts, the film brought Rodriguez to a wide international audience for the first time. After winning the audience award at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, “Searching for Sugar Man” became a word-of-mouth hit, eventually earning the Academy Award for documentary feature. In its review, The Times called the film “an indelible portrait of an artist given a second chance at fame.”

In the wake of the movie’s success, Rodriguez returned to live performances, appearing on “The Late Show With David Letterman” and “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” and playing concerts into the late 2010s.

This story will be updated.

This story originally appeared on LA Times

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