chespiritoOur hearts are broken.

Roberto Gomez Bolaños, the iconic Mexican comedian who wrote and played the boy television character “El Chavo del Ocho” that defined a generation for millions of Latin American children, died Friday. He was 85.

Known as “Chespirito“, he changed comedy in Latin America, taking his inspiration from Laurel and Hardy as well as Mexico’s other transcendent comedian who eventually made it to Hollywood, Cantinflas. The cause of death was not immediately announced.

His two most famous characters were “El Chavo del Ocho,” who lived in the homes of Latin America and beyond with his barrel, freckles, striped shirt and frayed cap, and the naive superhero “El Chapulin Colorado”. His morning show was a staple for preschoolers, much like “Captain Kangaroo” in the United States.

He warmed the hearts of millions with a clean comedy style far removed from the sexual innuendo and obscenity-laced jokes popular today. In a career that started in the 1950s, he wrote hundreds of television episodes, 20 films and theater productions that drew record-breaking audiences.

He will be so missed. We thank him for all of the memories.

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