Musician Best Known Simply As “Rodriguez” Dies At 81
He died on August 8, 2023. No cause of death was mentioned in the statement; however, previous posts on his website mentioned his health. In February, he had a stroke and later had surgery to repair some damage from the stroke.
In March, it sounded like his health was improving. A statement on the website explained, “Rodriguez is feeling strong, and, following the physical therapy that he is currently undergoing, as part of his post-op rehab, his family are hopeful that he will be returning home soon to continue and complete his healing process.” His death may be unrelated to the stroke.
Rodriguez was born in Detroit in 1942. His parents were Mexican immigrants, and he was their sixth child, thus his first name, Sixto.
When Rodriguez first started recording music, he released two albums under the name Rod Riguez. His label dropped him because the albums weren’t selling well.
What Rodriguez didn’t know at the time was that he was a hit internationally in countries such as Australia, Botswana, New Zealand, South Africa and Zimbabwe. In fact, a rereleased compilation album called “At His Best” ended up going Platinum in South Africa.
Rodriguez gained fame in the United States when a documentary about him called “Searching for Sugar Man” won multiple awards including an Oscar for Best Documentary Feature. The film was about two of Rodriguez’s fans from South Africa and their search for what ever happened to the musician. “Searching for Sugar Man” won the World Cinema Special Jury Prize and the Audience Award, World Cinema Documentary when it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.
Rodriquez declined an invitation to the Oscars. He didn’t want his presence to overshadow the work of the filmmakers.
Rodriguez is survived by his daughters, Eva, Sandra and Regan.
Rest in peace.