The American singer-songwriter Sixto Rodriguez has passed away. He was 81 years old.
The news was confirmed by his granddaughter after being shared on his website. According to his wife Konny, he died in Detroit following a short illness.
Rodriguez reached fame with hits like Sugar Man and I Wonder in South Africa, but only found out about his popularity after a 2012 documentary was made based on two South Africans searching for him.
The film, Searching For Sugar Man was made by Swedish filmmaker Malik Bendjelloul and tells the story of two South Africans on their search to find out what happened to their musical hero.
In 2013, Searching For Sugar Man won the Oscar for best documentary. It also gave Rodriguez a new level of fame as other countries also took notice of him.
Rodriguez’s popularity in South Africa was unheard of and only became apparent to the singer in the 1980s. A lot of his songs were supported by those opposing apartheid.
Although he toured South Africa in the late 1980s, he didn’t receive any royalties from his songs and was forced to go back to manual labour. When the makers of the documentary found him, he toured South Africa for a second time.
In 2022 it was revealed that Rodriguez had made enough money to retire.
Image credit: Reuters