Entertainment

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.

Credit: @JuhemNR / Twitter

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.

Credit: @BubbleTEar1 / Twitter

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.

Credit: @Carrasquillo / Twitter

“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.

Credit: @SheisDash / Twitter

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.

Credit: HistorryMiami Museum

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.

Credit: @OfficialJoelF / Twitter

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.

Credit: @hagtastic / Twitter

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.

Credit: THE NEW HERALD / YouTube

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.

Credit: @no_mamex / Instagram

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.

Credit: @lizzhuerta / Twitter

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.

Credit: @mijadoris / @cyberguurl / Twitter

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.

READ: Walter Mercado Got Real About His Flamboyant Style And Why He’s Long Said ‘No’ To Extreme Gender Conformity And Machismo

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

Family Of Man Who Died From Taco Eating Contest Sue Fresno Grizzlies Owner

Entertainment

Family Of Man Who Died From Taco Eating Contest Sue Fresno Grizzlies Owner

Dana Hutchings, 41, entered a taco eating contest during a Fresno Grizzlies game in 2019. He choked and died during the contest and now his son has filed a lawsuit against the baseball team.

The son of a man who died from a taco eating contest is suing for wrongful death.

Dana Hutchings, 41, died after choking during a taco eating contest during a Fresno Grizzlies game. His son has filed a wrongful death lawsuit claiming that the event organizers were not equipped to host the event. Furthermore, the lawsuit claims that the organizers failed to provide a medical response team.

“People say all the time he knew what he was getting into, well clearly he didn’t,” Martin Taleisnik, an attorney representing Hutchings’ son, Marshall told CBS17.

Marshall and his attorney are pushing back at the notion that Dana should have known better.

People have sounded off on social media criticizing the family for filing the lawsuit. Yet, the family and their attorney are calling attention to the lack of information given to contestants.

“If you don’t know all the pitfalls, how can you truly be consenting and participating freely and voluntarily? It’s a risk that resulted in a major loss to Marshall,” Taleisnik told CBS17.

Dana’s family is seeking a monetary settlement from the Fresno Grizzlies owners.

The wrongful death lawsuit names Fresno Sports and Events as the responsible party. The lawsuit also notes that alcohol was made available to contestants and added to the likelihood of the tragedy.

“We are devastated to learn that the fan that received medical attention following an event at Tuesday evening’s game has passed away. The Fresno Grizzlies extend our heartfelt prayers and condolences to the family of Mr. Hutchings,” a statement from the Fresno Grizzlies read after the death in 2019. “The safety and security of our fans is our highest priority. We will work closely with local authorities and provide any helpful information that is requested.”

READ: Kobe Bryant’s Wrongful Death Lawsuit Has Tragically Been Moved To Federal Court Despite Vanessa Bryant’s Pleas

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Woman Who Watched Her Mother Die Before Her Eyes While At Sea As A 9-Year-Old Reunited With Her Rescuers

Fierce

Woman Who Watched Her Mother Die Before Her Eyes While At Sea As A 9-Year-Old Reunited With Her Rescuers

May 20, 1986, started out for Desireé Rodriguez and her family as an idyllic morning.

At the time, Desireé’s father (a 30-year-old construction worker by the name of Thomas Rodriguez) had taken her, her mother, and sister as well an aunt and uncle out to Catalina Island for a day of sailing. The plan was to go out, fish, and bask in the summer sun before heading back home. In the evening, just as they were headed home the family was impacted by a dense fog. Desireé and her 5-year-old sister Trisha awoke from a nap on the boat to calls from her father to abandon ship and within minutes the entire family was lost at sea. Out in the water and away from their boat that had capsized.

 The family of six was stranded in the chilly Pacific water for hours and Desireé watched as her father first went to swim for rescue and never returned. In the hours that slowly stretched by Desireé witnessed the death of her sister, her mother, her uncle and then her aunt.

Decades have passed since her family’s accident but Desireé has lived to tell of the story thanks to the two men who rescued her.

In a recent piece by The New York times, Desireé was reunited with the two men who were remarkably able to save her after she spent a nightmarish 20 hours in the ocean.

Only 9-years-old at the time of the tragic events, Desireé recalls believing that her father would return with help when he first swam away from the boat. “My dad was like the superhero to me. I actually thought he would get help,” Desireé explained before calling the desperate hours that followed. After watching her family members die, she found herself all alone.

“At that point, I just kind of made the decision, I need to get away from this boat,” Desireé recalled to the New York Times. “I need to swim away, somewhere else. … Where? I don’t know.”

Just when Desireé decided to give up hope, the skipper of a commercial sportfishing boat spotted her orange life jacket in the water.

The boat’s first officer leapt into the water and fished Desireé out of the water. Desireé was ultimately transported back to San Pedro and never saw her rescuers again.

“I don’t think I would have lived, I’ll be honest with you. I think at that point, I was just kind of done,” Desireé explained in a recent interview about the incident. According to an article at the time that described the incident, Desireé had suffered no major physical injuries and was “in good spirits.” She left the hospital in San Pedro the next time.

“I had even hoped that my dad did make it somewhere,” Desireé explained of her thinking of the time. “Maybe he is living on an island and just got amnesia and didn’t know that he has a family. You know, you always have hope. But you get older, and reality sets in, and you’re like, OK. He didn’t make it.”

Paul Strasser and Mark Pisano, the two men who rescued her, ultimately earned commemorative plaques for their bravery from Mayor Tom Bradley. Desireé Rodriguez, now Desireé Campuzano, was adopted by another aunt and uncle who raised her. She went onto attend junior college in Fullerton, built herself a career in criminal justice, married and had a son. Still, she always wondered what had happened to the men who saved her.

It wasn’t until the COVID-19 pandemic that Strasser and Pisano came into contact with Philip Friedman who launched a podcast about his hobby as a fisherman.

“Friedman Adventures” which launched this past December, shares incredible stories from fishermen. Ine one episode Pisano spoke about the 1986 rescue.

“It’s kind of a weird story, kind of like there are some supernatural qualities,” Pisano explained of the experience on the podcast.

Friedman felt motivated to unite the two rescuers and Desireé. Ultimately a friend of Desireé’s heard the episode when it aired and made the connection. He reached out to Desireé and then Friedman and ultimately she and her rescuers were reunited.

“I was nervous at first,” Desireé said of meeting Strasser and Pisano “just seeing [the] guys and putting kind of finalization to the ‘what happened.’” The three were finally reunited during another episode of the podcast.

“I feel like she’s sort of our daughter, in a way, because we brought her back to life,” Strasser said during their reunion. “Even though we never knew each other.”

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