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Walter Mercado, Famed Puerto Rican TV Astrologer, Dies at 87

Mercado’s astrology advice and catchphrase ”mucho, mucho amor“ graced Latin American TV for 50 years

Walter Mercado, famed Puerto Rican TV astrologer, died Saturday night at Auxilio Mutuo Hospital in San Juan, according to the hospital’s spokesperson, Sofia Luquis. He was 87.

According to Telemundo PR, the cause of death was “apparent renal failure.”

Mercado was born on a ship traveling from Spain to Puerto Rico, according to a biography published by Puerto Rico’s Foundation for Popular Culture. He believed at an early age that he had spiritual abilities, including the powers of astrology.

Although he began his career as a telenovela actor, he took on his most famous job in 1969 when a guest did not show up for a Telemundo program. Mercado was asked to fill in by reading the horoscope, and his passionate delivery won over viewers so much that he was asked to return.

In 2010, he changed his name to Shanti Ananda — which means “peace happiness” in Sanskrit, saying a “being of light” communicated to him his “authentic mystic name.”

Over the next 50 years, Mercado’s astrological advice would be broadcast to hundreds of millions of homes in the U.S. and Latin America, first on Telemundo Puerto Rico and later on Univision from Miami. He became known for his embellished accent and extravagant wardrobe, and his sign off catchphrase of “mucho, mucho amor” (“lots and lots of love”) became the name of an exhibit at the HistoryMiami museum paying tribute to his five decades of work.

In the final years of his life, he moved his broadcasts to his personal website where his fans could ask him questions.