Mexico’s iconic television comedian Roberto Gómez Bolaños, who enchanted generations of Latin American children by playing an orphan who lived in a barrel and a goofy superhero, died on Friday. He was 85.
Gómez Bolaños died in the Caribbean coast resort of Cancún, where he retired years ago due to respiratory illnesses, said the Televisa network, where the actor spent his entire career.
The cause of death was not given.
“Televisa laments the death of Don Roberto Gómez Bolaños, ‘Chespirito,’ an essential figure of Mexican television,” the broadcaster wrote on Twitter.
Falleció Roberto Gómez Bolaños http://t.co/mzxmT7ZAZG pic.twitter.com/YeD6R9uBie
— Noticieros Televisa (@NTelevisa_com) November 28, 2014
Gómez Bolaños — whose nickname “Chespirito” means “Little Shakespeare” for his short stature and prolific writing — created some of the most popular television shows in the history of Latin America.
In “El Chavo del Ocho,” Gómez Bolaños played a mischievous orphan who always wore a hat with ear flaps and slept in a barrel in the courtyard of a working-class housing complex.
Another famous character was “Chapulín Colorado,” a red-hooded superhero with antennas and armed with a yellow and red hammer.
His shows had millions of viewers from Mexico to the Andes and the tip of South America, as well as in Portuguese-speaking Brazil.
Tributes poured in shortly after his death was announced.
México ha perdido a un ícono, cuyo trabajo ha trascendido generaciones y fronteras.
— Enrique Peña Nieto (@EPN) November 28, 2014
“Mexico has lost an icon, whose work has transcended generations and borders,” Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto tweeted.