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Mexican children's comic better known by his stage name Chabelo dies at 88

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

For decades, it was a Sunday morning routine in Mexico. Kids would get up to watch a mischief maker with a squeaky voice on TV.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "EN FAMILIA CON CHABELO")

UNIDENTIFIED MUSICAL ARTISTS: (Singing) En familia con Chabelo.

A MARTÍNEZ, HOST:

Xavier Lopez, known as the friend of all children, was the producer and host of Mexico's longest-running TV show. "En Familia Con Chabelo" was on the air for nearly five decades, from 1967 through 2015.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "EN FAMILIA CON CHABELO")

XAVIER LOPEZ: (As Chabelo, singing in Spanish).

MARTIN: Lopez, who played Chabelo, died over the weekend at the age of 88. Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador sent his condolences to the family in a tweet. He also recalled how his eldest son used to get up early to watch Chabelo more than 40 years ago.

MARTÍNEZ: He was born Xavier Lopez Rodriguez in 1935 in Chicago. After his family returned to Mexico, he studied medicine but wound up turning to acting.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

LOPEZ: (Through interpreter) Everyone needs to find their own path. And it's a matter of getting the ingredients. The main ingredient has four letters, and it's called love - love for doing what you want to do.

MARTIN: In 2012, Lopez set the Guinness World Record for the longest career as a children's television host.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

LOPEZ: (Through interpreter) In children, I've discovered, first of all, that they are the most beautiful part of a human being. And second, they've helped me learn a lot of things for my personal life, which leaves me with no doubt that childhood is the best phase of life.

MARTIN: His son, Xavier Lopez Miranda, described his dad as a great creative.

XAVIER LOPEZ MIRANDA: (Speaking Spanish).

MARTÍNEZ: In his son's words, "Xavier Lopez is no longer with us, but Chabelo is eternal."

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "EN FAMILIA CON CHABELO")

UNIDENTIFIED MUSICAL ARTISTS: (Singing in Spanish). Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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