Colombians mourn death of star vallenato performer



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BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) - Colombians mourned on Monday over the death of musician Diomedes Diaz, the best-known performer of the country's accordion-heavy vallenato music.

Hundreds of people swarmed around a firetruck that carried his body for display in the main square of Valledupar, the singer-songwriter's hometown.

Mayor Fredys Soccaras told Venezuela's Caracol radio that Diaz died Sunday of a heart attack after being rushed to a hospital. He was 56.

From a poor childhood on a farm near Colombia's Caribbean coast, Diaz rose to become one of the top-selling artists of the musical genre revered in Colombia. He was honored with a Latin Grammy for best vallenato album in 2010.

Diaz was also known for his off-stage excesses, including a lifelong battle with drugs and alcohol and a conviction for trying to cover up the overdose death of a fan at his home.

His death came three days after he released a new CD.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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