Legendary ranchera singer Vicente Fernández died at 81 years old on Sunday morning. He was known as "El Rey," "Chente" or "El Charro de Huentitán" by his fans around the world and was widely respected as the king of ranchera music. He recorded more than 50 albums and has sold more than 50 million copies of his records worldwide.
Strait has long-cited Fernández as one of his musical heroes, up there with Bob Wills. He even covered Fernández's song "El Rey" on his 2009 album "Twang," singing the song entirely in Spanish.
"I've loved Mariachi music for years, and although I'm not fluent in Spanish, I've been trying to get better," Strait said in publicity materials for the album at the time. "'El Rey' has been a favorite song of mine for years, and I request it every chance I get. So I decided to give it a shot. What a blast that was. I had a version by the great Vicente Fernández. I played it for the guys, and we worked it out. I think it turned out great, and I hope the real Mariachis like it. That will be the real test."
Here's a clip of Strait singing the song to an Alamodome crowd in San Antonio in 2010:
Strait tweeted his tribute to Fernández Sunday afternoon after learning of the singer's passing.
"Sad news today. We lost The amazing legendary Vicente Fernández this morning. One of my heroes. May he Rest In Peace and may God bless and comfort his family. Hasta la Cruz Chente!!"
No tengo trono ni reina, ni nadie quien me comprenda, pero sigo siendo el rey.