Walter Mercado Laid to Rest in Puerto Rico

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Walter Mercado was laid to rest on Friday at Señorial Memorial Park in Puerto Rico. The beloved astrologer died on Nov. 2 at the Auxilio Mutuo Hospital in San Juan. He was 87. 

A musical trio performed a variety of classic songs including "A mi manera," "Soñando con Puerto Rico" and "Verde Luz" during the public funeral. Puerto Rican journalist Omar Matos gave the opening remarks, explaining that death is a form of graduation. He shared how Mercado dedicated his life to planting seeds of love around the world and how the fruits of his labor now live within all those that knew and met Mercado.

Willie Acosta, Mercado’s personal assistant of 50 years, joined family members and close friends as they said their last goodbyes by placing yellow flowers over Mercado’s polished wood casket. 

Family members have spoken out on how Mercado never talked about his own death and never planned or expressed his last wishes. 

“He never thought this day would come,” Acosta told the Miami Herald on Wednesday. “Even when he was bed-ridden he didn’t think that death was so close.”

Born on March 9, 1932, Mercado was a Pisces and known as an actor, dancer, writer and TV personality throughout his career. He starred on Puerto Rican telenovelas Un adiós en el recuerdo (A Farewell to the Memory) and Larga distancia (Long Distance), and in 1970, he started his regular astrology segment on Puerto Rico's variety show, El Show de las 12. His star continued to grow, and for decades, his astrology prediction shows aired in Puerto Rico, Latin America and the United States.

Mercado -- who was also known by his stage name, Shanti Ananda -- suffered cardiac problems in early 2012, after which he reportedly said he had "gone and seen death and came back to life again."

His appeal went far beyond astrology. Mercado became a symbol of love and acceptance. A sort of life coach, a constant voice, who made fans believe they could reach the stars. 

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