Andy Palacio, an iconic musician and cultural activist in his native Belize and impassioned spokesperson for the Garifuna people of Central America, died after a massive and extensive stroke to the brain, a heart attack and respiratory failure due to the previous two conditions. Palacio was a national hero in Belize for his popular music and advocacy of Garifuna language and culture.
After visits to two hospitals is Belize, he was placed on an air ambulance to Chicago where he was expected to get treatment at one of the premier neurological facilities in the country. En route to Chicago, the plane stopped in Mobile, Alabama to clear immigration. At that point, Palacio was unconscious and it was determined that he was too ill to continue on the flight to Chicago. He was rushed to a hospital in Mobile, and placed on life support. There, doctors determined that the damage to his brain function was severe, and that his chances of recovery were slim. On January 18, his family requested that he be flown back to Belize so that he might die in his homeland.