Cabral was enormously popular in all Latin American countries; when he performed in Peru or Mexico, which he called his second home, for instance, tickets were sold-out long before the performance dates.
Facundo Cabral was named Messenger of Peace by UNESCO in 1996.
Cabral inspired millions around the world through his songs, poems and 66 books. He met Mother Teresa and Jorge Luis Borges. He performed in over 165 countries in 8 different languages.
His wife and one year-old daughter were killed in a plane crash in 1978. He was nearly blind and crippled, and was a cancer survivor as well. He once said, "Siempre le pregunto a Dios, ¿por qué a mí tanto me diste? Me diste miseria, hambre, felicidad, lucha, luces... vi todo. Sé que hay cáncer, sífilis y primavera, y buñuelos de manzana." ("I always ask God, why did you give me so much? You gave me misery, hunger, happiness, struggle, lights... I saw everything. I know there is cancer, syphillis, and Spring, and apple fritters)."
His songs have been covered by many top-notch Spanish language interpreters such as Alberto Cortez, who is also a friend of his, Juan Luis Guerra and Joan Manuel Serrat.
Facundo Cabral was shot and killed during a tour in Guatemala City while en route to La Aurora International Airport airport on July 9, 2011. Cabral had left a hotel in the west of Guatemala City, after an artistic presentation, and was headed to the airport on Liberation Boulevard, when gunmen attacked his vehicle, hitting him with at least eight bullets. He died in the car.
He was accompanied by a second vehicle carrying bodyguards, they couldn't protect the singer from the bullets. Cabral was riding in a truck that tried to flee the attackers by driving into a fire station. The gunmen were in two late-model vehicles. One of the attackers' vehicles was later found abandoned on the road to El Salvador. It had bullet holes and contained spent cartridges.
The Argentine consul in Guatemala, Enrique Vaca Narvaja, confirmed the report of the attack. Some evidence suggested that the killing was not a simple robbery.
Cabral's representative, David Llanos, told reporters: "I don't know how and why this happened, because Facundo is well-known around the world and I don't see why anyone would be interested in killing him."
The 74-year-old singer gained notoriety in the early 1970s as a protest singer in Argentina. In 1978 he lost both his wife and infant daughter in a plane crash. His most famous song, "No soy de aqui ni alla" — "I'm Not From Here or There — was recorded about 700 times in 27 languages.
In an interview with the Associated Press in 2008, he said: "I love life so much because it cost me so much to enjoy it. From the cradle to the grave is a school, so if what we call problems are lessons, we see life differently."