People Staff
October 11, 2007 AT 01:00 PM EDT

Francisco García Escalante, better known as Francis, passed away Wednesday afternoon at age 49 after suffering a thrombosis in a Mexico City hospital, where he’d been checked in since Monday for a respiratory problem.

“The news took us by surprise…[Francis] was rehearsing last week for a concert he’d planned,” Gustavo Suárez Ojeda, who worked closely with the actor, told Mexican newspaper El Universal.

It’s been reported that a wake was held for the popular entertainer in Mexico City, where he’ll be cremated. Suárez Ojeda confirmed that Francis’ mother, Zula Escalante, is considering moving his remains to his native state of Campeche, where the majority of his family resides.

Francis was born April 6, 1958. An accomplished sewer as a child, he moved to Mexico City as an adolescent to try his luck at fashion designing. But his life changed when he did the movie Noches de cabaret with Juan and Enrique Imperio. He later participated in the transvestite show Los Femmes and traveled all around Mexico for performances. During his 25 years as an entertainer, Francis acted in telenovelas and movies.

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