Il Divo signer Carlos Marin battled Covid in secret in December 2019, it has been revealed – after the 53-year-old’s death was announced at the weekend following a second bout with the virus.
Carlos himself told interviewers in his native Spain last year how he almost certainly contracted the virus during Il Divo’s 2019 Christmas tour of the US, which left him struggling to breathe and needing oxygen support.
Recounting the terrifying experience to actress Mar Regueras in December 2020, Carlos revealed he passed out because his oxygen levels were so low and doctors were on the verge of intubating him before he recovered. ‘I was lucky I didn’t pass over to the other side,’ he said at the time.
Medics were unable to confirm back in 2019 that he definitely had Covid because the virus was still largely unknown and testing capacity was severely limited, but when doctors tested him for antibodies four months later they found he had high levels in his blood which is a likely sign of infection.
The interview resurfaced today after the 53-year-old’s death was announced at the weekend, following a second bout with Covid which his agent said began on December 7 when he tested positive while touring the UK.
Carlos had been admitted to Manchester Royal Infirmary last week and then placed in an induced coma and hooked up to breathing machines after his oxygen levels were ‘compromised’. His death was announced Sunday.
Carlos’s agent, speaking to Spanish TV show Corazon, said he had been vaccinated against Covid in Mexico – where he lived for part of the year – but did not say how many shots he was given, what vaccine he received, or when his last dose was. Mexico has been using a mixture of AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Chinese and Russian shots.
Speaking in the 2020 interview, Carlos said he came down with a fever while touring the US some time in early to mid-December 2019 and by December 12 or 13 had lost his sense of smell and was taking cold baths just to keep his temperature down.
Il Divo star Carlos Marin has died in hospital after his life support machine was turned off following a Covid battle
Il Divo’s concert in Bath on December 6 was the last time Mr Marín (right) was seen on stage
Simon Cowell, who put Il Divo together in 2003 after a talent search, led tributes to Carlos today – saying: ‘I will miss you’
The group are considered the pioneers of operatic pop, or popera, and their live concerts have sold more than two million tickets worldwide (Marin pictured right in 2019)
A doctor gave him antibiotics and cortisone to treat the fever and some swelling, and Carlos said he went on to do three more shows in California before flying home from San Diego to Spain.
By the time he arrived home, Carlos was suffering a rare side-effect of the antibiotics which affected his tendons and on arrival at the airport could barely walk.
He ended up being admitted to hospital on December 25 for emergency surgery after one of his tendons snapped, and was still running a fever, coughing continuously and felt like he was suffocating if he tried to talk.
While being kept in hospital after surgery, Carlos said he passed out after his oxygen levels dropped too low.
‘I was told that if I didn’t react I would be intubated,’ he said. ‘Although luckily I didn’t have to be. My body reacted in the end.
‘I left hospital on December 31 that year. The first test I did was four months later in April. The antibodies showed up as high… during one of the tests a doctor told me that with the level of antibodies I had, I must have had Covid.
‘It was all the classic symptoms, a 41.5 fever, pneumonia, loss of smell and taste, everything. I was lucky I didn’t pass over to the other side.’
It is not yet clear whether Carlos’s death was directly due to Covid. Medics have confirmed that he was in a coma and intubated at the time he died, but have not said anything else.
His sister has confirmed that he was vaccinated against Covid, but refused to make further comment.
Carlos’s passing was confirmed by Il Divo bandmates Urs Bühler, David Miller and Sébastien Izambard on Sunday, who tweeted: ‘It is with heavy hearts that we are letting you know that our friend and partner, Carlos Marin, has passed away.
‘He will be missed by his friends, family and fans. There will never be another voice or spirit like Carlos.
‘For 17 years the four of us have been on this incredible journey of Il Divo together, and we will miss our dear friend. We hope and pray that his beautiful soul will rest in peace. With Love — David, Sebastien and Urs.’
Simon Cowell, who assembled the band in 2003 after a global talent contest, led tributes today with an Instagram statement which said: ‘I am finding this so difficult to put into words how I feel right now.
‘Carlos Marin has passed away. He loved life. He loved performing and always had so much appreciation towards the fans who supported the group from day 1. Rest in peace Carlos. I will miss you.’
The band also performed in Southend and Bournemouth, where they are pictured on December 4
Il Divo star Carlos Marín – pictured with his ex wife Geraldine Larrosa (stage name Innocence) had been placed in an induced coma after being admitted to hospital
Also paying tribute last night, Lorraine Kelly said: ‘This is so sad. I had the joy of interviewing Carlos and @ildivoofficial many times over the years.
‘He was such a class act. Thoughts with everyone who loved him x.’
Strictly Come Dancing judge Bruno Tonioli added: ‘Devastated @ildivoofficial @carlosmarin_ passed away.
‘We had the best time putting together the first @ildivoofficial performance 17 yeas ago great voice great man a true passionate Spirit with wicked sense of humor we will miss you so sad.’
Baritone Marin had been a star of Il Divo since its inception in 2003, and the group has gone to sell more than 30 million copies of their albums worldwide.
The group are also considered the pioneers of operatic pop, or ‘popera’, and their live concerts have sold more than two million tickets worldwide.
Il Divo was created by Simon Cowell after he decided to form a multinational quartet of classical singers inspired by opera group The Three Tenors, which included Pavarotti.
Before his death, Il Divo had said they were ‘hoping and praying’ for Marín after the group were forced to cancel their UK tour.
His agent said: ‘His ex-wife Geraldine Larrosa is with him in hospital because although they separated 12 years ago they remain great friends.’
The pair had been due to perform together on TVE1 on New Year’s Eve.
French-born singer Geraldine Larrosa, better known by her stage name of Innocence, had recorded a cover of Bohemian Rhapsody with Marin to be aired during a special on Spanish TV.
Marin was born in Germany in 1968 but was raised in Spain, recording his first album at the age of just eight years old.
He competed in a number of Spanish singing competitions and regularly performed on TV.
The singer then starred in musicals including Les Miserables and Grease, and sang in The Nightmare before Christmas and the Spanish version of Cinderella before joining Il Divo.
Earlier this month, he shared a selfie video from beside a pool in Maspalomas, Gran Canaria, to promote the final leg of Il Divo’s tour.
He then performed in Southend, Bournemouth and Brighton – when he posted an aInstagram video which showed him looking healthy while talking enthusiastically about the upcoming performance.
Il Divo’s concert in Bath on December 6 was the last time he was seen on stage and he was admitted to hospital two days later, El Espanol reported.
Gigs in Hull and Nottingham were called off and on December 10, Il Divo announced all subsequent shows had been postponed until 2022.
He split from the 44-year-old three years later, but they remained friends and had been seen attending events together (including this concert in Madrid)
Mr Marin had been a star of Il Divo since its inception in 2003, and sold over 30 million copies of their albums worldwide
The singer is pictured second left with L-R David Miller, Urs Buhler and Sebastien Izambard in 2019
It comes just days after Il Divo announced they’d postponed their remaining UK tour dates until 2022 due to ‘illness’
Announcing their tour had been suspended, Il Divo tweeted: ‘Unfortunately, due to illness, the remaining dates for Il Divo’s December 2021 UK tour have been postponed until December 2022.
‘Il Divo are deeply sorry to their fans, but look forward to returning to the road in the new year and seeing you all in the run up to next Christmas.’
Il Divo – which means ‘star’ in Italian – had been scheduled to perform two festive European shows, one in Lisbon and another in La Coruña, and the latter show was recently postponed until July 15, 2022.
Last month a 72-year-old woman from Barcelona was convicted of coercion and fined €60 for sending Mr Marín explicit and threatening letters.
The woman – named only as Rosa – was also given a six-month restraining order preventing her from coming within 500metres of Mr Marín.
His lawyer filed an appeal against the lightness of her sentence, noting he’d had to change his ‘work and life habits’, The Olive Press reported.
The female fan is said to have started to develop a ‘platonic love’ for the Il Divo star before beginning to make offensive phone calls to his production company and turn her venom on the 53-year-old.
She sent ‘threatening and offensive messages’ to the singer, his family and work colleagues in letters according to a written court judgement, making a series of detailed sexual proposals based around sadomasochistic practices.
At one point she was calling the singer’s aides up to a dozen times a day. The woman at the centre of the extraordinary case was said to have posed as a businesswoman trying to hire Carlos for a musical project and began to send the lurid letters after being turned down.
The singer’s lawyer claimed her harassment had led to the Il Divo star suffering sleepless nights and ’emotional stress’ and had even led to him fearing leaving his home.
Rosa’s defence team said before she was convicted she suffered a mental illness but the judge rejected their claim.
The trial that led to the conviction took place in September in Madrid.