Latinos Mourn The Death Of Astrological Legend Walter Mercado Who Died During Día De Los Muertos
Latinos are in disbelief to learn that the infamous Puerto Rican astrologer, Walter Mercado, died, at age 87, on Saturday. For more than 50 years, Mercado’s televised passion for astrological predictions, refusal to conform to gender roles, and mucho, mucho amor for his fans has secured a beloved space in the Latino zeitgeist. Whether your memory of Mercado was hearing your mom yell, “Callaté!” when his segment aired or memorizing your horoscope for the following day, every day, Mercado’s daily presence on your living room TV made him part of the family.
The public expects his immediate family to announce the cause of his passing, though San Juan’s Auxilio Mutuo Hospital spokeswoman, Sofia Luquis, did confirm his death on November 2, 2019.
Walter Mercado, a Pisces, was born at sea but lived and died in Puerto Rico.
According to a biography published by Puerto Rico’s Foundation for Popular Culture, Mercado was born on March 9, 1932, on a ship traveling from Spain to Puerto Rico. He grew up in Ponce, Puerto Rico, where he later began his career in Puerto Rican telenovelas. Though his fame grew to all of Latin America, Mercado largely remained in Puerto Rico throughout his life.
The astrological legend Walter Mercado gifted us decades of accurate and life-changing predictions.
Mercaado happened to be at a studio when the star of a guest segment didn’t show up. Producer Elín Ortíz asked him to use a 15-minute segment to offer astrological divinations. Boricuas loved him, and he was soon made a regular.
Recently, Mercado opened up about his gender-nonconformity.
“I’m so into who I am, and I do [what] feels right for me,” Mercado explained to Remezcla. “I’m so connected to people and to the divine for that. That I look feminine with a cape? Everyone knows we have two energies – yin and yang – and I know how to balance them. If I have to be a warrior, then I’ll be that. If I have to be soft and subtle, I can be that, too.”
“He never identified as queer,” one mourner tweeted, “But it felt like he refused to be constrained by gender norms and antiquated ideas of masculinity. He even rejected our understanding of time. When an interviewer once asked his age, Walter Mercado responded “Soy ageless.” AGELESS NEVER DIES, BEBÉ.”
Mercado was a pioneer and icon in the LGBTQ+ Latino community.
Mercado never discussed his sexuality but courageously expressed his gender to millions of viewers decades before rampant machísmo and homophobia were regularly challenged. Like an actual LGBT superhero, Mercado was known for wearing bejeweled and sequined capes.
At one point, Mercado owned more than 2,000 capes, twelve of which were put on display in Miami in August.
The HistoryMiami Museum put on a popular exhibit of his “costumes, mementos, and ephemera, on display for the first time ever” in its exhibit, Mucho, Mucho Amor: 50 Years of Walter Mercado, according to the museum website.
Mercado made a dazzling grand entrance, on a gold plated throne that was wheeled through the crowd.
Wearing a gold sequined three-piece suit, 88-year-old Mercado blew kisses to his fans and posed for photographs as he met the cheering crowd one by one. Some received a coveted reading from the internationally acclaimed astrologer, which were likely some of the last divinations in his 50-year long career.
Mercado garnered 120 million Latino viewers every day for more than 30 years.
Basically, you, your abuela, and your mamá would gather in the living room every day to watch the icon deliver the wisdom we all needed. Today, Latinos are trying to tap into what made him so special to us all. “Our mothers, tias and tios relied on his advice,” one Twitter user shared, “but I think what captivated his 120 million daily viewers was his positivity and how he radiated mucho, mucho, mucho, amorrrrrr.”
Latinos are lamenting the loss of a decades-long tried and true New Year’s Eve tradition with Mercado.
At the end of every year, Mercado gives a special segment on what each sign can expect from the new year. The mourning process for Mercado will extend at least until the New Year, as Latinos celebrate NYE without him. “I’m not an astrology buff but Walter was an icon and part of the family,” a mourner tweets, “New years will be so different without his segment his messages/horoscopes promoted optimism, love, and perseverance. Every evening he gave us hope, despite struggles, the stars showed a great future.”
Last year, Mercado predicted that Trump may be impeached in 2019.
Ok, so his exact Miami Herald-translated words were, “Donald Trump, the controversial president, will face his worst year and perhaps even impeachment.” This headline was published in The LA Times on January 2. Trump is currently undergoing an impeachment inquiry.
Beyond the loss of Mercado, it feels like a piece of our childhood died this weekend.
Ms. Lizz Huerta isn’t the first Latino to tweet about how Mercado’s death feels like the loss of something so innocent and pure from our childhoods. We all have such rich memories of how he was able to unite generations, though in varying ways. “My Tía would sit there and watch him weekly,” one dubious Latino tweeted. “I loved her dearly and while I would shake my head at her, if it made her happy to watch him, it was fine with me. She never sent money either which is why I was ok with it.”
We hope Mercado’s feeling mucho, mucho amor from wherever he is now.
Mercado passed on the final day of Día de Los Muertos, prompting Latinos to reaffirm Mercado’s destiny to transition to the stars themselves. Que descanse en Paz, Walter Mercado. You truly were a celestial being on this earth.
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