“Come on and sing, Chente, sing” shouted the more than 300 people gathered at noon around the Little Village Arch at the corner of 26th Street, and the “Idol of Mexico” responded with an a capella version of “El Hijo del Pueblo” (Son of the Village).
With banners, posters and Mexican flags, the crowd cheered and applauded under the falling rain as the 72-year-old vocalist intoned the verses that speak proudly of being born in “the poorest community, far from the hubbub and hypocrisy of society.”
“I’ll always have Chicago in my heart because it was here I began my first tour 47 years ago,” Fernandez said. “It’s an honor that a street of this neighborhood will bear the name of a humble servant, it is worth more than I could ever pay.”
In a statement to reporters after the ceremony, he said that during a routine medical checkup, a 2-centimeter (3/4-inch) lump was discovered on his liver “that shouldn’t be there.”
Chente will underwent a procedure on Tuesday at a Houston hospital to extract tissue samples for a biopsy of the small lump.