Mexican TV host RAUL VELASCO died on Sunday (26NOV06) in Acapulco after a long battle with ill health. He was 73. Velasco hosted SIEMPRE EN DOMINGO, one of Mexico's most popular and enduring television programmes Velasco was credited with launching many of Mexico's biggest pop stars on his show, which ran from 1969 until 1998. Mexican President VINCENTE FOX called the death an "irreparable loss" in an open letter to Velasco's wife DORLE KLOKOW, which was distributed by the President's office. Fox called Velasco "a founder of entertainment journalism. He leaves us a particularly memorable story of the happiness and entertainment he knew how to communicate". Earlier this month (NOV06), Velasco's son ARTURO told local media stomach problems had prevented Velasco from appearing at a ceremony in his honour sponsored by an entertainers' union. An October (06) homage to Velasco was attended by pop stars including ALEJANDRA GUZMAN and Puerto Rican singers Ricky Martin and Chayanne. In 1998, hepatitis forced Velasco to undergo a liver transplant, which local media said hastened the demise of his show.