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Paco de Lucia, Flamenco Guitarist, Dies at 66

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Paco de Lucia, an internationally renown flamenco guitarist who successfully crossed over into the jazz and rock worlds, has died on Feb. 25 of an apparent heart attack in Mexico. He was 66.

For adventurous rock fans, de Lucia was best known for the albums he did with jazz fusion guitarists Al DiMeola and John McLaughlin. In 1981, they released ‘Friday Night in San Francisco,’ a live album, which they followed up two years later with a studio effort, ‘Passion, Grace and Fire.’ Both albums cracked the Billboard 200, a rare occurrence for jazz records. A third album, ‘The Guitar Trio,’ came out in 1996.

He provided most of the score for the acclaimed 1984 British film, ‘The Hit,’ which also featured a title theme by Roger Waters and Eric Clapton. He also played on Bryan Adams’ 1995 hit, ‘Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman,’ which was featured in the film ‘Don Juan deMarco.’

Born in Spain in 1947, de Lucia began performing traditional Spanish flamenco at the age of 11. As his star rose throughout the ’60s, he began adding elements of jazz into his playing, which injected some new life into the genre, and de Lucia was heralded as the leader of the New Flamenco movement. In the late-’80s, the Gipsy Kings expanded upon his sound and became international superstars.

De Lucia continued to record and tour the world until 2004, when he went into a semi-retirement, playing only a handful of dates a year. According to CNN, his hometown of Algeciras in the south of Spain, will declare several days of official mourning.

Next: See Other Rockers We've Lost in 2014

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