Legendary Mexican singer and producer Juan Gabriel died on Sunday after a heart attack in Santa Monica, California, the Televisa network reported in his home country. He was 66.
Alberto Aguilera Valadez, who used the stage name Juan Gabriel, “died at 11:30 local time of a heart attack,” Televisa reported.
With more than 1,000 gold, platinum and multiplatinum albums to his credit, Gabriel had the attack at his home in Santa Monica, Televisa said.
An old-school idol some liken to Mexico’s Elvis Presley, he was a baladeer and a movie star who held on through decades of artistry. He had a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and was still on the list of music industry high-earners thanks to his touring.
Just Friday, Gabriel gave a packed concert in Los Angeles, to a crowd of 17,000 that had fans singing along and dancing for more than two hours.
Gabriel’s songs, beloved across Latin America, also had been translated into French, German, Italian and Japanese.
Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto praised Gabriel as “a voice and a talent that reflected Mexico.” “His music was his legacy for the world. He left us too soon,” Pena Nieto added on Twitter.
Gabriel, whose hits included “Hasta que te conoci” (“Until I met you”) and “Asi Fue” (“That’s How It Was”), was born in Paracuaro, Michoacan state. He was also well known for his musical films, and for his work as a music producer.
Coincidentally, the Grammy-nominated Gabriel passed away just as the TV Azteca network readied to air the end of a series based on his life.