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BUENOS AIRES, Argentina – Argentine singer Gustavo Cerati doesn’t know it, but he has millions of fans worldwide praying for his recovery.
“I am hoping for a miracle and that he gets well,” said Martín Jalile, 33, who works at the Brasil-Viajar tourism agency in the nation’s capital. “At least partially, because nobody fully recovers from a [stroke]. But I know that my wish is far from reality since, based on what newspapers say, the prognosis is very complicated.”
Cerati, the 50-year-old former singer of the iconic Argentine rock band Soda Stereo, has been in a coma since suffering a stroke on May 16 in Caracas, Venezuela. But he moved his head and his lips after hearing his songs, according to local media reports, citing Argentine musician Leo García, Cerati’s protégé.
García’s statement was made after 300 Cerati’s fans recently gathered at Buenos Aires’ planetarium, where Soda Stereo shot their iconic video for their song “Zoom,” to show support for the star whose music transcends generations.
Fans chose the planetarium, instead of gathering outside the Buenos Aires Fleni clinic where Cerati is hospitalized, because they didn’t want to interfere with his care, according to the Argentine daily Clarín.
Fans held signs and Cerati memorabilia as they expressed their get-well wishes and displayed a banner that had been autographed by 10,000 fans nationwide as Soda Stereo music filled the air, according to the Argentine daily La Nación.
When fans heard Cerati suffered a stroke, they flooded social networking sites to get the latest update on his condition and wish him a speedy recovery.
On Facebook, the group “¡Fuerza Cerati! Te veremos volver” (Stay Strong Cerati! We will see you come back) has more than 49,000 fans. The group “Por la recuperación de Gustavo Cerati” (For Gustavo Cerati’s recovery), on the same networking site, has more than 3,500 fans.
Fellow musicians and Cerati’s friends also are using social networking sites, specifically Twitter, to express their support.
“The only thing I do is to pray for things to turn out well. It is incredible what is happening. Come on, Gus!” tweeted Soda Stereo drummer Charly Alberti.
Argentine singer Diego Torres also used Twitter to send his get-well message.
“I found out [what happened to] Gustavo Cerati today and I hope that he gets better and gets well as soon as possible. Stay strong, Gustavo!!!” Torres tweeted.
Andrés Calamaro, an Argentine singer and former member of legendary bands Los Abuelos de la Nada and Los Rodríguez, said he’s praying for Cerati.
“He is a great friend, he’s a king. We are all hoping for him to sing again. While there is life, there is hope,” he told Clarín.
Cerati, bassist Zeta Bosio and Alberti created Soda Stereo in 1982. The group, which has sold more than 10 million albums, played its final show before taking a 10-year break in front of 75,000 at Estadio Monumental in Buenos Aires on Sept. 20, 1997.
“All of this took me by surprise and really brought me down,” said Ignacio Ortelli, a 33-year old executive for Hewlett-Packard in Argentina. “At first, I thought that it would be something minor, but the news later began to confirm a diagnosis that was more serious. It is strange, you don’t know him [personally] and you feel a little silly getting sad, but that guy has been part of my life for [the last] 20 years.”
Several fans were upset with the media’s initial coverage of the story.
“It seemed really awful the way it was publicized and how the press used statements from his former wife at first,” said Camilo Carball, a 23-year-old college student and an employee at the Alco-Canale food company. “From what I understand, I think his recovery is going to be very difficult.”
Isabel Nanzi, a spokeswoman for the Fleni clinic, said Cerati’s health condition is “stable.” Through Cerati’s website, his family denied rumors of his death, saying he’s receiving “spiritual help.”