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Cano was born in Alicante, Spain, in the neighborhood of Goteta, on 18 December 1912. He is the son of Vicente Cano, who served as bullfighter with the nickname "Rejillas". His father set up a small business renting out chairs and awnings. Paco first caped a cow that had escaped from the slaughterhouse there.
At 17 Cano tried his fortune as a boxer in the flyweight category. He then tried his hand in a bullfight in Alicante, as an espontáneo, or spontaneous bullfighter, and got sent to jail, but eventually had a debut alongside the novilleras, the Palmeño sisters. At a bullfight in Orihuela, Alicante, he suffered a goring. During the war Cano lived in Madrid, entering the world of photography as a laboratory assistant at a cosmetics factory while still working as a bullfighter. Being a "bullfighter-photographer" he had the advantage of knowing two techniques: how to capture the right moment, and how to use the camera. Cano decided to leave bullfighting and dedicate himself to photography. Among those matadors photographed are Domingo Ortega, Pepe Luis Vazquez, and Luis Miguel Dominguin.
Cano was in Linares (Jaén), where he was the only photojournalist in Linares on the afternoon of matador Manolete's death in the ring. The images Cano took that afternoon and the next night went around the world. He earned little money for them, but Cano was forever known as the photographer of the death of Manolete. He photographed the shrouded corpse of the matador with the crucifix in his hands, and his widow, Lupe Sino heartbroken. These images had great impact in the press, as most of the public only knew the Spanish bullfighter by his voice from the radio before these were published. Their story was later made into a film with Adrien Brody and Penélope Cruz, called Manolete (film)
-  Facebook fan page of Paco Cano
-  Canito inaugura exposición en el Museo Taurino
-  Palmeño sisters news clippings
- es:Paco Cano Cano on Spanish Wikipedia
-  Photograph of Manolete by Cano
- "Paco Cano, un alicantino universal, cumple hoy 100 años" (in Spanish). Alicante Fiesta. 2012-12-18. Retrieved 2013-01-03.
-  Manolete's death
-  Interview with Cano
-  Manolete photos
- Manolete and Cano
- Mitos Book by Cano
- "The first 95 years of Cano" - Article in LaVerdad.es
- Cano honored at the University of Navarra
- Homage to Paco Cano Villena
- "If I was born again, I would be a bullfighter or a photographer" Abc de Sevilla