Who is Shakira’s Lebanese father William Mebarak Chadid?

Pop star’s father has been an inspiration through her celebrated career

William Mebarak Chadid embraces his pop star daughter singer Shakira during the 2011 Latin Recording Academy's person of the year awards. Getty Images
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The Lebanese father of popstar Shakira has reportedly been taken to hospital in Colombia due to pneumonia.

William Mebarak Chadid, 92, has had a series of health challenges over recent years, including a minor stroke last year and a fall in 2022 that resulted in a visit to hospital in Barcelona.

While Shakira has yet to comment on the latest setback, she has publicly discussed her close relationship with her father.

Marking his 91st birthday in 2022, she shared photos of her father and a video on Instagram showing the pair conversing in Spanish. "Happy birthday to the hero of my life," she said. "Daddy you've had Covid, two falls and two operations. It's been a lot this year and you're still, at 91-years-old, teaching me resilience and limitless love every day."

Here is what we know about William Mebarak Chadid:

A constant inspiration

Chadid was born in New York to Lebanese parents Alberto Mebarak Spath and Isabel Chadid Baizer before moving to Colombia at the age of five. Shakira is the only child from his second marriage to Colombian painter Carmen Ripoll Torrado. He had nine children with his first wife Lucila Mebarak.

While reportedly working in the insurance and healthcare sector in Colombia, Chadid channeled his love for the arts into music and literature.

In 2011, he published the Spanish book Al Viento y al Azar (In the Wind and at Random), a series of personal essays and love stories. Shakira, who edited the book, praised her father's candour. "In Al Viento y al Azar, I was captivated by everything: the rebellious attitude of some of its texts, the anarchy in its structure, the brutal honesty in his words."

Shakira has cited her father’s encouraging presence and his heritage for shaping her eclectic approach to work, particularly in the 1998 song Ojos Asi, which includes a rare Arabic verse from the singer.

For his 80th birthday in 2012, Shakira and Chadid duetted on Hay Amores (there are loves), a new version of a 2007 bolero she released as part of the soundtrack for the film Love in the Time of Chlorea.

The accompanying music video has intimate behind-the-scenes footage of the studio recording, in which Shakira guides her father and gently asks him to raise his weathered vocals to "a tone and a half higher".

The song Gafas Oscuras from Shakira's 1991 debut album Magia (Magic) is inspired by her father's signature large black sunglasses.

The verse has Shakira expressing the fear she felt as child when seeing her father in shades.

“Your sunglasses make me shake every time they hide you. Your sunglasses made me feel out of this world. When you look at me, my body shrinks and I turn into a little girl,” she sang.

“When you look at me, I'm trapped in your world and I feel different.”

The resolution arrives in the chorus, where she pleads: “You look at me passionately. Take me, hide me in your sunglasses.”

When Shakira was honoured by the Latin Recording Academy as its 2011 person of the year in a Las Vegas ceremony, Chadid took to the stage and performed Mi nina bonita. Composed by Mexican folk singer Vincente Fernandez and translated to My Pretty Girl, it was a lullaby he sang to Shakira as a child.

The song concludes with the message: "If one day my girl gets married in a ermine white dress I'll remember that I dreamed to have a boy. So I'll ask the Lord and pray for, that the man that takes her away always loves her."

Shakira's last post on Chadid was in 2023 when, under a collage of family photos, she wrote: "Your smile is my weakness."

Updated: June 11, 2024, 3:39 AM