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‘Sugar Man’ singer Sixto Rodriguez dies at 81

New York (AFP) – Sixto Rodriguez, the once obscure American singer-songwriter who found a career renaissance after his music developed a cult following abroad, has died at the age of 81, according to his website.

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“It is with great sadness that we at Sugarman.org announce that Sixto Diaz Rodriguez has passed away” on Tuesday, the statement read, without providing a cause of death for the singer, whose hits included “Sugar Man” and “I Wonder.”

Born July 10, 1942 in Detroit to Mexican-American parents, Rodriguez worked on assembly lines while moonlighting as a musician, putting out two albums in the 1970s: “Cold Fact” and “Coming From Reality.”

By most metrics they bombed stateside, and Rodriguez quit the music industry and lived a quiet, working-class life in Detroit.

The musician had no idea that his music, and in particular “Sugar Man,” found a massive following throughout apartheid-era South Africa as well as New Zealand and Australia.

That he was not a public presence fueled fan beliefs that Rodriguez was dead.

But a group of fans tracked him down online, and he played a 1998 South African tour to sold-out arenas.

The remarkable story was immortalized in a 2012 documentary “Searching for Sugar Man,” which went on to win an Oscar as well as give Rodriguez belated success in the United States and a music career resurgence.


This story originally appeared on France24

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