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Pablo Milanés - Oficial Pablo Milanés - Oficial FB

After on-going health issues, Grammy-winning Cuban singer-songwriter Pablo Milanés has died at 79. The internationally famous musician known for hits such as the love song Yolanda and Amo Esta Isla, died of cancer in Madrid on November 22nd. The singer-songwriter and guitarist was born on February 24, 1943 in Bayamo, Cuba and was one of the most internationally famous Cuban musicians. He was also a supporter of the Cuban Revolution.

Pablo recorded dozens of albums and toured the world with a career spanning more than five decades. Fans throughout Latin America knew him simply as Pablito. Known for such hits as Yolanda and Yo Me Quedo, Pablo Milanés helped define Nueva Trova. Milanés pioneered the “protest music” Nueva Trova movement along with Silvio Rodríguez and Noel Nicola - a movement in Cuban music that emerged around 1967/68 after the Cuban Revolution of 1959, and the consequent political and social changes. His music, originating in the Trova, Son and other traditional styles of early 20th Century Cuban music, setting him apart from the style of Silvio Rodríguez. Nueva Trova was smiled upon by Castro’s government for lyrics that gave voice to its stated political and social imperatives, including the battles against sexism, colonialism and racism.

According to NPR, in a 2019 interview with his daughter Haydée Milanés, NPR's Alt.Latino described Pablo as "one of the most revered singer-songwriters to emerge from a heady period when politics, poetry and acoustic guitars flowed from Cuba in the form of nueva trova, or new song."

Calling for social and economic changes to the country, Milanes announced earlier this year, that he had signed the Cuban Civil Society Manifesto. In a Facebook post, he urged others to read the document and to make way for new ways of thinking, "which claim new laws, new freedoms, new active participation within today's society, which would lead us to a dialogue of peace."

Milanés died in Madrid. His death was announced by his agent in a statement on Tuesday. He moved to Spain several years ago to receive treatment for cancer. The Latin Grammy winner's death was announced on his Facebook page:

Con gran dolor y tristeza, lamentamos informar que el maestro Pablo Milanés ha fallecido esta madrugada del 22 de noviembre en Madrid.Agradecemos profundamente todas las muestras de cariño y apoyo,...

"With great pain and sadness, we regret to report that Maestro Pablo Milanés has passed away this early morning on November 22 in Madrid. We deeply appreciate all the shows of love and support, to all his family and friends, in this very difficult time. May he rest in the love and peace he always transcended. He will remain forever in our memory."

Cuba’s prime minister, Manuel Marrero Cruz, offered his condolences to Milanés’s family and friends, saying: “Cuban culture is in mourning after the death of Pablo Milanés.”

At his family’s request, a wake will be held at the Casa de América cultural centre in Madrid on Wednesday. The centre described his as “an indispensable figure in Ibero-American music”, while the Gladys Palmera radio network and archive tweeted: “We’ll always love you, always remember you and always sing your songs. RIP dear Pablo Milanés.”

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