Beloved Argentine actor, composer, writer, illustrator and musician Horacio “El Negro” Fontova — who carved a career on the stage and the television screen — has died after a long battle with cancer. He was 73 years old.
Fontova’s death was announced via multiple social media accounts, including those of Argentina’s National Institute of Music.
“For INAMU it’s extremely painful to say goodbye to our brother and companion of so many battles and joys. We can never thank you enough your commitment to music and just and noble causes,” Argentina’s National Institute of Music wrote on Instagram.
Fontova was a versatile artist who worked successfully in multiple mediums. As an actor and comedian, he won two Martín Fierro Awards for playing Sonia Braguetti, the character he created for the TV show Peor Es Nada. He also launched the comedy show Delicatessen in 1998 with other Argentine comedians. As an illustrator, Fontova was published in the magazine El Expreso Imaginario. And as a musician, he was a member of multiple bands, ranging from folk to Caribbean music, including his own Fontova y Sus Sobrinos in the 1980s.
He briefly toured with Les Luthier, and his 2004 album Fontova-2004-NEGRO won a Gardel award in 2005 for best album testimonial song artist, which he premiered in a show with guests like León Gieco and Lito Vitale. On social media, artists and executives remembered a talented but generous man who was quick to smile and give.
“Indispensable,” wrote Fito Páez in a post that included an old clip of him and Fontova at the piano on a TV show in the ’80s. “A god of laughter, humor and the absurd. One of the most noble people I have met in this journey.”
“An incredible artist and a unique person,” wrote manager Pepo Ferradas (Camilo, Lali) on his Instagram account. “A good friend who gave me incredible opportunities.”