Mexican icon and soap star Julio Alemán died on Wednesday from a heart attack and lung complications. He was 78.
Alemán starred in what is said to be the first telenovela ever produced in Mexico. It was called “El Zarco” in 1957.
Alemán had been fighting lung cancer since early 2000 and was admitted to a Mexico City hospital on Monday with an infection, according to Televisa, his broadcast employer.
His son, actor Martín Méndez told Mexican online magazine Quien.com that there will be a tribute arranged in memory of his father on Friday. He also said remaining of Alemán will be cremated Friday night.
Méndez, confirmed in the wee hours Wednesday morning that Alemán had been admitted into intensive care.
He stated that after thorough examination, Alemán had experienced a cardiac arrest 10 days before, Quien.com reported.
“We had no idea that he had the heart attack,” Méndez said. “From the looks of the medical exams turns out it was very severe.”
Méndez added that his mother recalled Alemán having a “small chest pain” about two weeks ago.
“We thought that it was because of the tumor that he had in his left lung,” Méndez added.
Considered a pioneer in the telenovela industry, Alemán also starred in movies and served as a state representative. His last telenovela was produced only two years ago.
He had six children and married three times, including twice with the same woman. He is survived by nine grandchildren.
Alemán was born on Nov. 29, 1933, in the western Mexican city of Morelia.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.