Labordeta died in a Zaragoza hospital after battling prostate cancer for four years, said Chunta Aragonesista, the political party he represented during two terms in parliament.

The party advocates for greater financial resources for Aragon, the protection of its environment and of the Aragonese language.

Labordeta’s musical career began with the release in 1974 of Cantar y callar, an album that showcased his pro-democracy convictions during the final months of the military dictatorship of Francisco Franco. His musical style combined traditional Aragonese tunes with modern Spanish folk melodies, and gained popularity throughout the country.

“He was a great Spaniard and a great patriot,” King Juan Carlos said.

Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero also paid tribute to Labordeta, saying at a political rally in Barcelona: “I remember and pay homage to Jose Antonio Labordeta, an authentic man who has left us and whom we love.”

Born March 10, 1935, in the Aragonese capital, Zaragoza, Labordeta graduated from the city’s university and became a teacher while pursuing his musical, literary and political interests.

He became a popular television presenter, hosting the series “Un pais en la mochila” in which he explored – armed with a backpack, a musical instrument, pen and notepad – some of Spain’s most enchanting and intimate rural environments.

He represented Chunta Aragonesista in Aragon’s regional parliament and served in the national parliament from 2000-2008.

Labordeta published poetry, novels and travel articles. He is survived by his wife, Juana de Grandes and daughters Ana, Angela and Paula.