CARACAS, Venezuela

Folk singer and songwriter ‘Uncle Simon’ Diaz dies at 85

Venezuelan folk singer-songwriter Simon Diaz has died at age 85, prompting an outpouring of mourning in the country that considered the man known as “Uncle Simon” to be a national treasure.

His daughter Bettsimar Diaz confirmed his death on her Twitter account, but gave no details.

Diaz’s most often-performed song is “Caballo Viejo,” which translates as “Old Horse.” It was one of more than 200 songs he composed while recording 70 albums. His popularity grew as he hosted a children’s television show and appeared in five films.

Both the leftist government and its opponents in the bitterly divided nation paid homage to the singer on Wednesday.

Education Minister Hector Rodriguez says a song in honor of Diaz will be performed in all Venezuelan schools Thursday.

New York

Devo guitarist Bob Casale dies of heart failure at 61

Bob Casale, the guitarist for Devo, best known for the 1980 hit “Whip It,” has died of heart failure, his brother and band member Gerald Casale said Tuesday. He was 61.

Devo founding member Casale said in a statement that his younger brother’s death Monday was “sudden” and “a total shock.”

“As an original member of Devo, Bob Casale was there in the trenches with me from the beginning,” Casale said. “He was my level-headed brother, a solid performer and talented audio engineer, always giving more than he got.”

The Ohio-based Devo introduced themselves to the world in 1977 by making a frenetic version of the Rolling Stones’ “Satisfaction.” The new wave band released its Brian Eno-produced debut, “Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!,” in 1978 and reached platinum status with 1980’s “Freedom of Choice,” which featured “Whip It.”

Gerald Casale formed Devo with lead singer Mark Mothersbaugh. Alan Myers, the group’s drummer, died last year after a battle with cancer age at 58.

Devo is short for devolution, the idea that man was regressing into an earlier state.

— The Associated Press