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Gustavo Dudamel’s former bodyguard killed in Venezuela

March 9, 2012 |  4:24 pm

DudamelGustavo Dudamel’s former bodyguard was killed by a stray bullet outside his home near Caracas, Venezuela. Yojham Tupac Amaru Oliviera Camero, 33, leaves behind two children.

Reports have been circulating that Camero was working for the conductor at the time of his death. But a spokeswoman from the Los Angeles Philharmonic said Camero hadn't worked for Dudamel in about two years. The shooting took place at 2 a.m. on March 3 and was reported by the Venezuelan newspaper El Nacional.

Dudamel was not available for comment.

The Venezuela-born conductor was in his homeland last month with the Philharmonic for a series of Mahler concerts, marking the first foreign orchestra appearance in Caracas in two decades.

On the trip bodyguards and police escorts accompanied Dudamel, as is often the case with famous or rich people in the country, where crime is a major problem and abductions are not uncommon. Caracas has been called the unofficial murder capital of South America; there were 19,000 homicides nationwide last year. 

Dudamel, the music director of the L.A. Phil, has reached rock-star status in his country, where he is the music director of the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra.

Fans queued up as early as 4 a.m. for tickets to the final concert of the Philharmonic's trip, with Dudamel conducting more than 1,400 musicians in a performance of Mahler's Eighth Symphony. Times music critic Mark Swed wrote that the concert was "not just a grand performance, it was a communal one."


Music review: Gustavo Dudamel's monster Mahler 8 in Caracas

Caracas diary: Dudamel, Abreu and a multitude of young musicians

Caracas diary: Meeting the youngest musicians of El Sistema

-- Jamie Wetherbe

Photo: Gustavo Dudamel at Teatro Teresa Carreño in Caracas in 2008. Credit: Susana Gonzalez / For The Times