Mexican singer Chavela Vargas died Sunday from respiratory failure after her health took a marked turn for the worse earlier in the morning, her doctor said. She was 93.

"She was quite conscious up until the last moment and expressed her best wishes for Mexico, which is in great confusion, to improve and she said that she has the best memories ... of her public," her physician, Jose Manuel Nuñez, told Efe.

The Costa-Rican-born artist died at 12:55 p.m. local time (1755 GMT) from acute respiratory insufficiency, chronic bronchial pneumonia and kidney failure, the doctor said.

He also said that she was very serene and calm just before her passing, recalling "her Mexico" and her fans in her last moments, and in particular she expressed her thanks to the communications media and everyone for their support.

Vargas - whose real name was Isabel Vargas Lizano - had been cared for since last Sunday by a medical team led by Nuñez at the Inovamed Hospital in Cuernavaca, capital of the central Mexican state of Morelos.

Before dawn on Saturday morning a group of admirers serenaded Chavela Vargas far enough away to avoid annoying the other patients.

The head of her medical team said that Vargas had refused to allow artificial or invasive measures to be used to prolong her life.

Vargas had wished to be cremated and her relatives and friends intend to scatter her ashes on Chalchi Hill, near her house in Tepoztlan, in the state of Morelos.

The singer arrived in Mexico on July 26 after almost a month in Spain, where she went to give a recital of songs from the disc she dedicated to the poet Federico Garcia Lorca entitled "La Luna Grande" (Great Moon), and to present her memoirs.

The effort took its toll and on July 12 she was admitted to hospital in the Spanish capital, where she stayed until July 21.

From that day she rested in the Madrid Students Residence, looked after by her nurses, friends and the institution's personnel until she returned to the Mexican town of Tepoztlan, where she has lived in recent years.