Walter Mercado, the Puerto Rican television personality whose horoscopes reached an estimated 120 million viewers a day for years, has died at 87.
Mercado was an actor, dancer, and writer who was best known for his astrology. In 1969, Mercado was asked to fill in when a Telemundo horoscope presenter didn't show up, according to Puerto Rico broadcaster WIPR. His astrological career blossomed from there, and he began hosting a regular astrology segment on the network. In 1990, he started working at Univision Miami, appearing on the news show Primer Impacto.
Mercado was known for wearing elaborate sequined capes and dramatically rolling his r's as he recited horoscopes. He also ended each program with his signature blessing: "mucho, mucho amor."
Earlier this year, Remezcla writer Christian Portilla published an interview with Mercado about his career and public presentation.
"What's curious about Walter's unassailable and long hold on our community is that as a whole, Latinidad tends to follow gender norms ... something that Mercado does not," Portilla wrote. "For many of us, he's one of the first interactions the Latino community had with a gender non-conforming person. And no one, not even your abuelita seemed to care. Neither does he."
"I'm so connected to people and to the divine for that. That I look feminine with a cape? Everyone knows we have two energies -- yin and yang -- and I know how to balance them," Mercado told Portilla.
"If I have to be a warrior, then I'll be that. If I have to be soft and subtle, I can be that, too. I broke the barriers. Boys wear blue and girls wear pink ... Why? No, that's in the past. Extreme gender conformity, machismo, and weak, submissive women, no, no, no, no. We are humans; people have the right to think whatever they want. I follow my own path, and I am who I am," Mercado continued.
In 2015, Mercado famously predicted that Donald Trump's dream of "becoming president of the most important nation in the world ... will diminish once the nation discovers his egocentrism, xenophobia ... and his lack of knowledge."
"Senor Donald Trump thinks he can buy everything with money, but he is wrong," said Mercado. "Consciousness is not bought nor sold, it is achieved."