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Beloved street guitarist Marito Mortadela dies in San José hospital

October 11, 2014

The famous San José street guitarist known as Marito Mortadela died Friday. He had spent two days in San Juan de Dios Hospital after entering cardiac arrest while eating lunch in downtown San José on Wednesday. He would have turned 59 this year.

Marito was also hospitalized almost exactly one year ago after he was struck by a car after suffering a convulsion in the street.

Born Mario Bolaños Quirós in 1955 in a San José slum, the mentally disabled man began playing music along Avenida Central forty years ago to make a living.

Known for his unintelligible lyrics and plastic toy guitar, Marito became a fixture in the capital. He once said the lyrics to his ditties were dedicated “to his mom in heaven” who died when he was 14.

In 2008, artist Mario Gilberto Solano Quirós painted a statue in honor of Marito. The statue, part of the city-wide “Cow Parade” exhibit, will remain in the spot where Marito regularly played his music.

 

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