ENTERTAINMENT

Adiós Don Mario: Shakira, Marc Anthony in star-studded farewell to 'Sabado Gigante'

After 53 years on the air, Don Francisco is preparing a big good-bye to his popular “Sabado Gigante” show, which includes a star-studded guest list.

Via Billboard and The Hollywood Reporter, Univision released the lineup of talent ready to give the 74-year-old Chilean TV icon their best wishes.

Shakira, Enrique Iglesias, Juanes, Paulina Rubio, Daddy Yankee and Marc Anthony are among the many artists participating in a mix of live performances on the long-running Univision variety show.

Gloria Estefan, Laura Pausini, Luis Fonsi, Prince Royce and Espinoza Paz are also billed to appear on the final episode on Sept. 19.

“Don Francisco was the first person who gave me a shot on national television. I’ll always be indebted to him," Daddy Yankee told Billboard earlier this year. "His contribution to, and his influence in, the Latino community has no limit. He is an example and a true leader,” he also said.

Iglesias, who started his career on "Sabado Gigante" in 1995, called the host "unique and irreplaceable."

"Fifty-three years on TV is easy to say, but it’s an incredible record," he told the Associated Press. "I am so grateful (...) I’m sure a lot of my colleagues will agree with me that he has been like a father figure to all of us. Thank you Don Mario.”

Univision announced in April that it would be ending “Sabado Gigante’s” run, which is hugely popular in most of Latin America as well.

"'Sabado Gigante' allowed all of us who work here to fulfill impossible dreams, and it is time to end this story with dignity, at the best level ... and with the highest ratings," said Francisco, whose real name is Mario Kreutzberger.

"We are second, first, third nationally every week. Times have changed, we know that, and because of that we need to look for new challenges," he added.

With an average of 2.2 million viewers per episode, the show remains No. 1 on Saturday nights among Hispanics in the United States and was up this season among younger viewers, according to the Nielsen company. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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