How Il Divo's Carlos Marin went from child prodigy to opera superstar

20 December 2021, 16:30

Carlos Marin was a young singer before finding fame
Carlos Marin was a young singer before finding fame. Picture: YouTube/Alamy

By Tom Eames

Il Divo tenor Carlos Marin charmed millions of people around the world with his incredible voice and stage presence.

The German-born singer, who has tragically died aged 53 in a Manchester hospital following a battle with Covid-19, first began performing music as a child.

Carlos recorded his first album aged just eight, and performed on Spanish TV at 10.

He later went on to have a career in musical theatre, opera and film, before being discovered by Simon Cowell for his new 'popera' supergroup Il Divo, alongside American tenor David Miller, Swiss tenor Urs Bühler and French pop singer, Sébastien Izambard.

Il Divo were an instant success, selling 30 million records around the world.

Il Divo with Simon Cowell
Il Divo with Simon Cowell. Picture: Getty

Carlos led a relatively private life, spending 13 years with French singer Geraldine Larrosa - known as Innocence - before proposing to her the day before a surprise wedding at Disneyland, California.

While their marriage ended three years later, they stayed close friends, and Geraldine was with him in hospital during his final days.

Born in 1968 near Rüsselsheim, Germany, Carlos was raised in Madrid, Spain, where he found fame as a singer before he had even finished primary school.

Carlos Marin with ex-wife Geraldine in October 2021
Carlos Marin with ex-wife Geraldine in October 2021. Picture: Getty

He recorded his first album at the age of eight, singing Spanish and Italian standards such as 'Grenada' and 'O sole mio'. Carlos was nicknamed 'The Little Caruso', after the iconic Italian tenor Enrico Caruso.

His first TV appearance arrived at the age of 10, when he performed 'Grenada' on Spanish children's programme La locomotora.

Carlos appeared in various TV shows as a teenager, including Gente Joven, aged 17.

By his mid-20s, Carlos was a regular on the stage, appearing in Spanish language stage productions of Les Miserables, Grease and Beauty in the Beast

Carlos was eventually scouted by Simon Cowell for Il Divo, a new classical-crossover vocal group that he was inspired to form after listening to the Three Tenors.

Hoping to recreate the success of Luciano Pavarotti, José Carreras and Placido Domingo, Cowell launched a two-year global search, ending in 2003 with the signing of American David Miller.

The group eventually parted ways with Cowell's SyCo record label, and had been on a UK tour when Carlos was admitted to hospital.

Carlos had fallen ill on December 7, soon tested positive for Covid, and was taken to Manchester Royal Infirmary. He was later put into a medically-induced coma.

Sharing the news, Il Divo wrote: "It is with heavy hearts that we are letting you know that our friend and partner, Carlos Marin, has passed away.

"He will be missed by his friends, family and fans. There will never be another voice or spirit like Carlos.

"For 17 years the four of us have been on this incredible journey of Il Divo together, and we will miss our dear friend. 'We hope and pray that his beautiful soul will rest in peace. With Love - David, Sebastien and Urs."

Simon Cowell led the tributes, saying he was 'devastated' by the news.

"I am finding this so difficult to put into words how I feel right now," Cowell said. "I am devastated Carlos Marin has passed away. He loved life. He loved performing and always had so much appreciation towards the fans who supported the group from day 1. Rest in peace Carlos. I will miss you."