Brother of ‘Hispanic Elvis’ speaks out as beloved San Antonio icon is hospitalized and ‘very sick’

Hispanic Elvis fighting infection in hospital, brother says

SAN ANTONIO – The San Antonio icon known only as Hispanic Elvis has been hospitalized and remains in serious condition, his brother confirmed to KSAT on Wednesday morning.

George Cisneros tells KSAT his brother has “an infection in his esophagus” and says he was told on Monday that his brother was “very sick.” Cisneros said he was also told by doctors that his brother tested positive for COVID-19 so he has been unable to visit him at the hospital over the past two days.

News of Hispanic Elvis’s condition surfaced this week on social media with dozens of people sharing photos, stories, prayers and memories of the man who has entertained crowds at Market Square for more than two decades.

Cisneros said his brother is “very private,” but he and his family “appreciate all the support” and the prayers he’s received over the past two days. “I know a lot of people love him,” said Cisneros.

He added that he wanted to thank the Cortez family for allowing his brother to be inside Mi Tierra all these years and thanked the owners of a nearby michelada stand for allowing Hispanic Elvis to perform and meet visitors in their area.

(Image of "Hispanic Elvis" at Mi Tierra provided by Texas Eats host David Elder.)

Hispanic Elvis, 76, was born and raised on the city’s West Side. Cisneros said they grew up in a small house behind the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center.

While many people are aware of his current persona as Hispanic Elvis, Cisneros said his brother played guitar in a band in the 1960s, performing at historic venues like Patio Andaluz near downtown.

Cisneros said his brother always had a penchant for wearing nice clothing and would buy his clothes at Penner’s. He said that his brother liked the way Elvis dressed, but was “more of James Brown fan,” noting he would mimic Brown’s dance moves during performances.

(Image of "Hispanic Elvis" at Mi Tierra provided by Texas Eats host David Elder.)

Before he spent the majority of his time at Market Square, Cisneros said Hispanic Elvis started his street performances in the front of the Alamo and would like to pose as a mannequin in front of Ripley’s Museum to have fun with visitors.

In September, local artist Colton Valentine paid tribute to Hispanic Elvis by painting a mural of the man on San Pedro Avenue. The mural shows Hispanic Elvis riding his bicycle, a common sight near downtown and the West Side, with his homemade guitar, sunglasses and flashy attire. “I’m so grateful to the artist who drew that mural,” Cisneros said.

Hispanic Elvis does not have a cell phone and Cisneros said he “was old school like that.” And despite many opportunities to cash in on his popularity, Cisneros said his brother turned down multiple offers to star in commercials, saying his brother lives by his own rules.

“My brother is living his dream, he didn’t want to make commercials or be more famous,” Cisneros said. “He just wants to entertain people.”

Do you have a memory or picture with Hispanic Elvis. Share your memories or well wishes in the comments of this story. You can upload your picture here ksat.com/pins. We may use your photo in a gallery or on our newscasts.

We also discussed the social media tributes and the influence “Hispanic Elvis” has had on San Antonio residents in this morning’s KSAT News Now. Watch Wednesday’s show here.


About the Author:

RJ Marquez is co-host of KSAT News Now and reports for Good Morning San Antonio. He's been at KSAT since 2010 and covered a variety of stories and events across the San Antonio area. He also covers the Spurs for on-air and digital platforms, including his Spurs newsletter. RJ has reported stories for KSAT Explains.