Maria Salud Ramirez Caballero, the elderly woman who is said to have inspired the main character in the Disney/Pixar movie “Coco” (2017), has died at the age of 109, according to TMZ.
Secretary of Tourism for the Mexican state of Michoacan, Roberto Monroy, confirmed her death occurred in the town of Santa Fe de la Laguna, which is the very same town Caballero was born in over a century ago, TMZ reported Monday. Monroy did not reveal Caballero’s cause of death. He remembered Caballero as a “tireless woman and life model,” who had come to be known over the years as “Mama Coco,” according to TMZ.
Maria Salud Ramirez Caballero — the lady who supposedly inspired one the main characters in the movie, “Coco” — has died. https://t.co/OnRbhHXqJc
— TMZ (@TMZ) October 17, 2022
The plot line behind “Coco” (2017) centers around Mexico’s Day of the Dead traditions. While Disney/Pixar has never publicly declared they based the character of Mama Coco around Caballero, her family claimed that representatives from Disney/Pixar visited their area and took many photos of Caballero, TMZ reported. The reps also lived with Caballero’s family for a time, according to the outlet.
Caballero’s family also insisted many of the buildings and architecture portrayed in the cartoon movie are similar to those in Caballero’s town, according to TMZ. Ana Ofelia Murguia voiced the character, and family members say Mama Coco looks uncannily like Caballero. (RELATED: James Earl Jones Says He’s Done Voicing Darth Vader)
Caballero was known for producing and selling clay pots and crafts in her spare time, the outlet continued. She is reportedly considered a local legend for her alleged inspiration behind one of the movie’s main characters.
Caballero is survived by three children and a number of grandchildren and great-grandchildren.