Paco de Lucia: Spanish flamenco guitarist dies at 66

(CNN) -- Legendary Spanish guitarist Paco de Lucia, who is credited with transforming the folk art of flamenco into a more vibrant modern sound, has died. He was 66.

The Gipsy Kings may have gone a long way toward making flamenco mainstream, but de Lucia paved the way.

A proponent of the New Flamenco style, de Lucia's career is defined by crossover collaborations with guitarists such as Eric Clapton, John McLaughlin and Al Di Meola, and jazz pianist Chick Corea.

De Lucia was playing with his children on a beach in Cancun, Mexico, when he suddenly fell ill, according to the spokesman of his hometown of Algeciras in southern Spain.

He was taken to a hospital where he died late Tuesday Mexico time.

Miguel Nunez, the Alegciras spokesman, said the preliminary cause of death appears to be a heart attack.

Algeciras, near the Strait of Gibraltar, plans to declare several days of official mourning.

™ & © 2014 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.