MEXICO CITY (AP) — Thousands of fans in Mexico City paid homage Sunday to Roberto Gomez Bolanos, the late Mexican comedian who played the boy television character "El Chavo del Ocho" that defined a generation for millions of Latin American children.
Gomez Bolanos, who was known as "Chespirito" (chess-pee-REE-to), died Friday at age 85.
Thousands of people, many dressed as his characters, gathered at Azteca stadium in southern Mexico City Sunday to say goodbye to the iconic comedian who took his inspiration from Laurel and Hardy as well as Mexico's other transcendent comedian, Cantinflas.
"Chespirito! Chespirito!" shouted fans of all ages as his coffin entered the stadium. It was received by thousands of children dressed as his character "Chapulin Colorado" or "The Crimson Grasshopper."
Giant television screens showed videos about his life and characters. His morning show was a staple for preschoolers, much like "Captain Kangaroo" in the United States.
Maria Laredo, 86, came to the ceremony with her 48-year-old daughter Angelica Herrera.
"He touched many generations. My mother liked him, I liked him and even my 3-year-old grandson liked him," the daughter said.
Many of the red t-shirts worn by fans said: "Thank you for making us laugh."