A singer who was Mexico’s best-selling artist of all time and one of the icons of Latin American music has died. Rolling Stone reports that Juan Gabriel died Sunday at his home in Santa Monica, Calif.
Gabriel, 66, reportedly suffered a fatal heart attack following a performance at the Forum in Inglewood, Calif.
Gabriel’s family released a statement Sunday saying: “Alberto Aguilera Valadez ‘Juan Gabriel’ passed away suddenly earlier today as has been widely reported. Juan Gabriel was a giant in the music industry and is as popular now as ever. As importantly, Juan Gabriel was a beloved father and grandfather. He is survived by his sons and grandchildren.”
Gabriel, who was on a fall U.S. tour, had been scheduled to perform in El Paso Sunday night, but that concert was canceled even before news of his death.
Gabriel had been dealing with health issues for a few years.
“Born Alberto Aguilera Valdez in Parácuaro, Michoacán in 1950, Gabriel embodied the ‘rags to riches’ story; as the youngest of 10 children, his mother left him at an orphanage at the age of four, an event Gabriel stated was his earliest memory. In his youth, Gabriel sang music he concocted in his head while selling tortillas on the street,” Rolling Stone reports.
Gabriel notched his first hit record, “No Tengo Dinero,” at age 21. His 1984 album “Recuerdos, Vol. II” has sold 8 million copies to rank as Mexico’s best-selling album of all time. The album included his huge hit “Querida,” which reportedly remained at the top of the Mexican song charts for a year.
Here’s a version of “Querida” in which Gabriel duets with Juanes …