MEXICO CITY (AP) — Xavier López, a Mexican children’s comic better known by his stage name “Chabelo,” has died at 88, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador wrote Saturday.
López’s best-known work, the Sunday variety show “En Familia con Chabelo”, ran for an astonishing 48 years from 1967 to 2015, Mexico’s longest-running TV show.
The Mexican president wrote in his Twitter account that his own eldest son, José Ramón, “woke up early to see him (on television) more than 40 years ago.”
López, who was no relation to the president, usually performed dressed in kid’s clothing well into his 80s. He helped found a genre of adult comics dressed as kids that became a staple for decades on Mexican television.
His longevity — he performed in a child’s raspy squeak throughout his career — led to joking speculation he would outlive everyone else in show business.
López’s agent, Jessica Nevilley, said he died Saturday morning. A private funeral will be held for him later Saturday.
A U.S. citizen — he was born in Chicago to Mexican parents — López returned to Mexico with his family at a young age and trained as a doctor. But he found his calling in acting.
The comic’s family wrote on his fan page that López “died suddenly of abdominal complications.”
He was survived by several children and his wife.