Walter Mercado, who died in his late 80s on Nov. 2, was a giant in the field of astrology, having made his forecasts understandable and instantly useful to a wide Spanish-speaking audience. My hat goes off to him, because he did much to start the modern interest in astrology.
His horoscopes and predictions–presented with his warm, optimistic style–were syndicated daily throughout Latin America, attracting the dedication of millions of fans for more than three decades. Although I never met him, his mark on our field was inescapable. The many publications for which he wrote included People en Español here in the U.S., and I had the pleasure of working on my book Planets and Possibilities with someone who had been at the Time & Life Building in New York City several decades ago when word got out that he was coming to see his editor there. The crowd of fans stretched down the block, my editor had said, just to capture a glimpse of him. This was even more remarkable because it happened before the advent of social media.
Mercado dressed like Liberace, in an entertaining, flamboyant style. He was the original individualist, far ahead of his time, and I feel I’m successful in part because of his work. All astrologers stand on his shoulders, for he led the way–and the world will miss him too, as there will never be another Walter Mercado.
This appears in the November 18, 2019 issue of TIME.