Singer FREDDY FENDER has died at home with his family in Texas after battling a string of illnesses including lung cancer. He was 69. The Grammy Award winner had been getting treatment in Oklahoma for the disease, but was transferred to a hospital in San Antonio, Texas last week (ends08OCT06) because of a blood infection. He was discharged on Thursday (12OCT06) but passed away on Saturday (14OCT06). Fender's turbulent medical history also included drug and alcohol abuse, diabetes and hepatitis C. He received a kidney from his daughter in 2002 and a liver transplant in 2004. Born BALDEMAR HUERTA, his glittering music career included the hit country ballad BEFORE THE NEXT TEARDROP FALLS in 1975, which propelled him to fame. Extremely proud of his Mexican-American heritage, Fender won a Grammy of Best Latin Pop Album in 2002 for LA MUSICA DE BALDEMAR HUERTA. He also shared in two Grammys: with the TEXAS TORNADOS, which won in 1990 for best Mexican-American performance for SOY DE SAN LUIS, and with LOS SUPER SEVEN in the same category in 1998 for LOS SUPER SEVEN. Aside from music, he appeared in the 1987 movie THE MILAGRO BEANFIELD WAR, directed by Robert Redford. In February 1999, Fender was awarded a star in the Hollywood Walk of Fame after an endorsement from then-Texas Governor George W Bush. RON ROGERS, a family spokesman, revealed the singer died at midday yesterday surrounded by his family.