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Thursday, 28 November, 2002, 15:04 GMT
Hundreds mourn Cuban folk singer
Funeral of Polo Montanez
Fans lined the street to say goodbye
Cuban folk music star Polo Montanez, who died earlier this week following a car crash, has been buried in western Cuba.

At the funeral, which took place in the singer's birthplace of Candelaria, Cuba's culture minister followed the coffin and hundreds of fans lined the streets to say goodbye.

Polo Montanez
Polo Montanez: At the height of his fame
The 47-year-old musician suffered head injuries when his car hit a truck while he was driving home with relatives from a family party.

He was in a coma for a week in a Havana military hospital, where surgeons carried out brain surgery but were unable to save him.

His 25-year-old stepson, Mirel Gonzalez Garcia, also died and his wife, Adis Garcia, was injured.

Mr Montanez shot to fame three years ago after the international success of the song Guajiro Natural (Natural Peasant).

He has died at the height of his fame.

His songs regularly topped the charts in Latin America, and last year he toured Europe.

Fans are mourning a former coal miner who, unlike most Cuban musicians, never attended any formal music school or academy.

Unique style

Mr Montanez, whose real name was Fernando Borrego, came from a humble, provincial background.

He described the Guajiro Natural hit as a self-portrait of a simple country boy who falls in love and enjoys life.

His style, a combination of Cuban folk music and salsa, was entirely his own.

"I come from a very musical family and have an audience that listens to my songs, lyric by lyric. I sing about things that I have lived and suffered," he said in an interview in February.

"Children hum my songs. That's so great for a musician," he added.

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31 Oct 02 | Country profiles
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