Il Divo star, Spanish baritone Carlos Marín dies from COVID-19 aged 53

20 December 2021, 09:57

Carlos Marín, star of pop-opera group Il Divo, has died aged 53
Carlos Marín, star of pop-opera group Il Divo, has died aged 53. Picture: Alamy

By Maddy Shaw Roberts

“There will never be another voice or spirit like Carlos,” Marín’s bandmates said.

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Carlos Marín, the Spanish baritone and member of opera crossover group Il Divo, has died aged 53.

The baritone’s bandmates, David Miller, Sébastien Izambard and Urs Bühler, paid tribute to Marín in a post on social media: “It is with heavy hearts that we are letting you know that our friend and partner, Carlos Marin, has passed away. He will be missed by his friends, family and fans.”

After falling ill on Il Divo’s UK tour on 7 December, Marín was taken into hospital, his bandmates confirmed. The singer was later placed in an induced coma before he died. Marín’s agent has since confirmed that the singer, who was reportedly vaccinated, had tested positive for COVID-19.

“There will never be another voice or spirit like Carlos,” his bandmates added. “For 17 years the four of us have been on this incredible journey of Il Divo together, and we will miss our dear friend. We hope and pray that his beautiful soul will rest in peace.”

Read more: Il Divo - 20 facts you never knew

Il Divo have pioneered the 'pop-opera' genre
Il Divo have pioneered the 'pop-opera' genre. Picture: Getty

Il Divo have pioneered the pop-opera, or ‘popera’ genre, recording covers of hit pop songs in a classical style, alongside stars Celine Dion and Barbra Streisand.

An international group with roots across Europe and beyond, Il Divo often perform in their own native languages, Spanish and French. Marín was a Spanish baritone born in Germany, Miller is a tenor born in the US, Izambard is a French pop singer, and Bülher is a Swiss tenor.

The quartet has sold over 30 million albums worldwide, their biggest hits ranging from ‘I Believe in You’ (Je crois en toi), a French-English duet with Dion, and ‘Regresa a Mí’, a Spanish cover of Toni Braxton’s ‘Un-Break my Heart’.

Il Divo was formed in 2003 by music mogul Simon Cowell, though the group later parted ways with him. Cowell has said the idea behind Il Divo came to him after hearing Andrea Bocelli singing ‘Con te partirò’ (Time to Say Goodbye).

Cowell paid tribute to Marín in a post on social media, saying: “I am finding this so difficult to put into words how I feel right now. I am devastated Carlos Marin has passed away. He loved life. He loved performing and always had so much appreciation towards the fans who supported the group from day 1. Rest in peace Carlos. I will miss you.”

Marín, born in Germany in 1968, was raised in Spain and recorded his first album aged just eight years old.

The singer starred in hit musicals Les Miserables, Beauty and the Beast and Grease, as well as the Spanish version of Cinderella, before joining Il Divo.

Speaking about his own musical tastes with Classic FM in 2015, Marín said: “Each of us has different inspirations. Myself, I listen to Tom Jones, the oldies like Frank Sinatra and I’m also a big fan of 80s music like Queen, Spandau Ballet and Duran Duran.”

Marín’s final concert with Il Divo is reported to have been in Bath, UK on 6 December, before he was taken into hospital two days later.

The baritone was married to French-born singer Geraldine Larrosa, also known by her stage name ‘Innocence’, until 2009. The former couple, who remained great friends, had been due to sing together for a New Year’s Eve concert on Spanish TV.