The Latino Elvis overcame a tough upbringing in an orphanage to sell more than 100m albums
Juan Gabriel, the legendary Mexican singer-songwriter , has died suddenly at his home in California. He was 66.
Gabriel was Mexicos leading singer-songwriter and top-selling artist, with sales of more than 100m albums. His ballads about love and heartbreak and bouncy mariachi tunes became hymns throughout Latin America and Spain, as well as with Spanish speakers in the United States.
He brought many adoring fans to tears as they sang along to hits such as Hasta Que Te Conoci (Until I Met You) and Amor Eterno (Eternal Love). His hit Querida (Dear) topped Mexicos charts for a whole year.
Juanes, the Colombian star who recorded Querida with Gabriel in 2015, told Billboard: Juan Gabriel is our Elvis.
A flamboyant performer, Juan Gabriel, whose real name was Alberto Aguilera Valadez, liked to wear jackets covered in sequins or dress in shiny silk outfits in hot pink, turquoise blue or canary yellow, and he was known for tossing his head before dancing or jumping around the stage.
He has passed on to become part of eternity and has left us his legacy through Juan Gabriel, the character created by him for all the music that has been sung and performed all around the world, his press office said in a statement.
It gave no details on his death. His publicist, Arturo de la Mora, told Associated Press that he died at 11:30am in his home. He said the family would provide a statement later.
Juan Gabriel performed to packed auditoriums, including Madison Square Garden in New York and the Kodak Theater in Los Angeles. His last concert was on Friday night at the Forum in Inglewood, California. He was scheduled to perform on Sunday in El Paso, Texas.
Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto said through his official Twitter account: I regret the death of Juan Gabriel, one of the great musical icons of our country. My condolences to his relatives and friends.
Juan Gabriel broke ground in Mexico in 1990 by becoming the first commercial singer to present a show at Mexico Citys majestic Palace of Fine Arts, until then a forum reserved for classical musicians. The proceeds from the three sold-out concerts went to support the National Symphony Orchestra and became his most celebrated performances. His album Juan Gabriel live from the Palace of Fine Arts set record sales.
A six-time Grammy nominee, Juan Gabriel was inducted into the Billboard Latin Music Hall of Fame in 1996 and received countless industry awards, including ASCAP Songwriter of the Year in 1995, Latin Recording Academys Person of the Year 2009, and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame that same year.
The singer, who was born on 7 January 1950, wrote his first song at age 13 and went on to compose more than 1,500 songs.
There are no rules when I compose songs, he said, according to a biography published by Mexicos Society of Music Authors and Composers. There are times when Im really happy and I write something really sad, and vice versa.
Artists across Latin America and in the United States covered many of his songs, including Paul Anka and Marc Anthony, who broke into the salsa music world in the US with Juan Gabriels Hasta Que Te Conoci. Juan Gabriel also wrote and produced albums for artists such as Mexican singer Lucha Villa and Spains Rocio Durcal.