Folk singer Simon Diaz has died, aged 85.

The beloved star, who was affectionately known as 'Uncle Simon' in his native Venezuela, passed away on Wednesday (19Feb14).

His daughter Bettsimar broke the news to his legions of fans in a statement, which read: "With tears in my eyes, I announce to the country that my beloved father peacefully left us this morning."

Many of Diaz's songs became classics in Venezuela, including Caballo Viejo, which was the inspiration behind the Gipsy Kings' international hit Bamboleo.