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Walter Mercado (1932–2019), popular Puerto Rican astrologer

by Linnea Crowther

Walter Mercado was a Puerto Rican astrologer who was widely known and beloved for his TV shows.

Walter Mercado was a Puerto Rican astrologer who was widely known and beloved for his TV shows. Also known as Shanti Ananda – the name he chose for himself in 2010 – Mercado was a celebrity throughout the Spanish-speaking world. His horoscope segments appeared on “El Show de Medio Día” and, later, Univision’s “Primer Impacto.” He also had a radio show and wrote a column for People en Espanol. Mercado’s flamboyant appearance and delivery were among his charms: dressed in gem-encrusted capes and suits, he dramatically rolled his r’s and gestured extravagantly as he read his astrological predictions. His signoff each day was “Sobre todo, mucho, mucho amor” – “Above all, lots and lots of love.”

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Died: November 2, 2019 (Who else died on November 2?)

Details of death: Died at a hospital in San Juan, Puerto Rico of apparent kidney failure at the age of 87.

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LGBTQ icon: Though Mercado never publicly discussed his sexual orientation, it was widely assumed that he was gay or bisexual. He became an icon of the Latin American LGBTQ community, beloved for his joyful flamboyance. He was credited with helping smooth the way toward LGBTQ acceptance in Latin America: His TV appearances were as popular with conservative viewers as with more liberal ones, bringing his gender fluidity into households across the Spanish-speaking world.

Notable quote: “The people want to know is Walter straight, homosexual, metrosexual, bisexual, I don’t care. Here I am, I am who I am, that’s it.” —from a 2019 interview on Real America with Jorge Ramos

His fans react: “Walter Mercado! An angel who graced this planet in our lifetime with such divine spirit has left us. It would have been an honor to meet you but I’m so grateful for the memories I have of watching you with my grandma Mima. ¡Con mucho mucho mucho amor!” —actress Rosario Dawson

“He was something rare for U.S. Latinos – an icon families watched for decades. He was beyond gender conformity and wore capes because he damn well pleased. He signed off every time wishing peace and mucho, mucho amor. What a guy.” —journalist Adrian Carrasquillo

“A part of my childhood… watching him with mi abuela!!! His astrological messages and spirit always kept us intrigued!!!” —Twitter user @MsDivaLi

“If your grandma was watching this, you were watching this. I always remember trying to catch his horoscopes for Cancer in his trademark rapid fire yet smooth style. Part of my upbringing.” —Twitter user @CintronMusic

“I will really miss your New Year’s horoscope! But most of all I will miss your positivity, light and the love. You were constantly reminding us that love was the most important thing ever. #MuchoMuchoAmor #WaterMercado #icon” —Twitter user @marinetq

Full obituary: Miami Herald

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