CAIRO: Popular Egyptian folk singer Hassan El-Asmar died Sunday at age 52 in Cleopatra Hospital from a fatal heart attack.
His funeral was held at the Noor Mosque in Abbasiya.
Born in the southern governorate of Qena in 1959, El-Asmar rose to stardom in the late 1980s with a string of hits such as “Ana ho wenta aho” (Here I Am and Here You Are), “Mawwal el-Sineen” (Mawwal of the Years), “El Wad Da Eih?” (Who’s That Kid?) and his signature song “Ketab Hayati” (The Book of My Life).
At once melancholic and playful, El-Asmar’s simple lyrics about everyday life resonated with a wide audience at a time when the folk scene was deemed dead. His deep, roaring voice and quintessential Egyptian character emerged as an alternative to the obvious, mundane pop music of the time.
El-Amsar also starred in a number of films such as “Emra’a wa Khamsat Regal” (A Woman and Five Men, 1997), “Zeyaret el-Sayed el-Ra’is” (Mr. President’s Visit, 1994) and Atef El Tayeb’s modern classic “Laila sakhena” (A Hot Night, 1996).
He ventured into theater with successful comedies “Hamry Gamry” and “Ballo.”
Younger audiences know him mainly for his TV work, most notable the late script-writer Osama Anwar Okasha’s TV classic “Arabesque” in 1992.
El-Asmar was last seen in 2008 in the TV series “Kamar.”
In the past few months, El-Asmar was prepping for a comeback album scheduled for release later this year.