Spain's music scene is in mourning following the May 12 death in Madrid of singer, guitarist and composer Antonio Vega at the age of 51, whose songs form a key part of the modern Spanish pop scene.

Vega died in hospital of a serious lung complaint, three weeks after being admitted with acute pneumonia.

Although Spanish dictator General Franco died in 1975, most observers date the emergence of serious modern pop from about 1980, at the beginning of a key cultural renaissance called the Movida Madrilena (Madrid Movement or Happening), which included the first films by Oscar-winning director Pedro Almodovar.

Vega's band Nacha Pop, which he formed in 1978 with his cousin Nacho García Vega, was central to the Movida Madrilena. The act's self-titled debut album included a Vega song that is considered to be a classic of 1980s Spanish pop, "La Chica de Ayer" (Yesterday's Girl).

Nacha Pop recorded seven albums in nine years on various labels, and although the band was not commercially big, Vega and the band enjoyed enormous prestige. Their one commercial success was the 1988 farewell album, "Nacha Pop 1980-1988," which went platinum.

By this time, Vega had a heroin problem that would seriously affect his solo career and his health. He recorded two solo albums, won the 1993 Spanish music award Premios Ondas for the song "El Sitio De Mi Recreo," and was honored with a 1993 tribute album, "Este Chico Triste Y Solitario" (This Sad and Lonely Kid), that included versions of his songs by leading Spanish artists such as Gabinete Caligari, Los Secretos, Alaska, Ketama, and Manolo Tena, as well as Mexican band Maná.

Vega had joined the Spanish authors' and publishers' collecting society SGAE in 1980, and its current executive president Eduardo Bautista produced Nacha Pop's debut album. "He was an extraordinary songwriter, who had a very difficult life," said Bautista. "Above all he has been an author. It infuriates me that a person can die at 51 years of age."

Vega has 146 songs registered at SGAE. Hundreds of music industry artists and friends are expected to bid farewell to Vega at a funeral chapel to be mounted at SGAE's Madrid head offices on May 13 and 14. He will be cremated in Madrid's main cemetery on May 14.