LIVE

Charo, a Spanish-American icon of the 1970s, married producer Kjell Rasten in 1978

By Aurelie Corinthios and Chelsea White
February 19, 2019 11:08 AM
Advertisement

Charo‘s husband of over 40 years has died by suicide.

According to TMZ, Kjell Rasten was found dead Monday afternoon at the Beverly Hills home he shared with the star, who is originally from Spain and rose to fame in the United States as an actress/singer/guitarist in the 1970s.

Citing law enforcement sources, TMZ reported that after police and paramedics responded to the scene, Rasten was transported to a hospital, where he was later pronounced dead. He was 78.

Charo, 68, confirmed his death in a statement Tuesday.

“Yesterday, Kjell, My husband of forty years and the love of my life killed himself,” she said. “There are no words to describe what we are feeling now. He was an amazing man, a great husband and the best father I could imagine to our son. He dedicated his life to loving and supporting his family.”

She also revealed that he’d been ill.

“In recent years, his health began to decline and he developed a rare and horrible skin disease called Bullous Pemphigoid,” she explained. “He also became very depressed. That, along with the many medications he needed to take, became too much for him, and he ended his suffering.”

“None of us had any idea this could happen to such a wonderful, kind and generous man,” she concluded. “Please, if anyone you know and love is suffering from depression or illness, hold them close, tell them you love them with all your heart and that the world is better because they are in it. Get any help you can. Suicide is not the answer. Thank you all so much for you love and concern. Thank you.”

ABC's "Celebrity Wife Swap" - Season Four
Credit: Adam Taylor/ABC via Getty

According to the Blast, Charo was home at the time and rode with Rasten in the ambulance.

The Beverly Hills Police Department confirmed to PEOPLE that officers were dispatched to a 911 call at the couple’s home at 12:31 p.m. on Monday, where they located a male subject “with life-threatening injuries.”

“Beverly Hills Police and Fire personnel attempted life-saving measures and transported the victim to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center,” said a spokesperson. “Shortly after 1:00 p.m., the male succumbed to his injuries. Preliminarily, investigators believe the death is a result of a suicide; however, the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office will determine the cause and manner of death as well as the identity of the victim. This is an active investigation and no additional details are being released at this time.”

Plumstead Theatre Society Presents "Henry FondaA Celebration of Life" Tribute Gala
Credit: Ron Galella/WireImage
ABC's "Celebrity Wife Swap" - Season Four
Credit: Adam Taylor/ABC via Getty

Charo, whose real name is María del Rosario Pilar Martínez Molina Baeza, married Rasten, a producer, in 1978. (She was previously married to musician Xavier Cugat from 1966 to 1978.)

Rasten went on to become her manager, and the couple welcomed a son, Shel Rasten, in 1981.

Shel, now 37, was reported to have been the drummer for a heavy metal band called Treazen, though it’s unclear if the band is still together.

Charo and Rasten, along with Shel, appeared on a 2015 episode of ABC’s Celebrity Wife Swap. They swapped with Charo’s Love Boat costar Jill Whelan.

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text “home” to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.