Juan Gabriel, Beloved Mexican Singer, Dies at 66

Juan Gabriel
Juan Gabriel performs at The Forum at The Forum on August 26, 2016 in Inglewood, California.  

Legendary Mexican singer Alberto Aguilera Valadez, better known as Juan Gabriel, died on Sunday, August 28, at the age of 66.

Valadez died in Santa Monica, California, after suffering a heart attack at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, according to Mexican journalist Joaquin Lopez Doriga.

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Mexico’s president, Enrique Peña Nieto, later issued a statement on Twitter, writing, “I regret the death of Juan Gabriel, one of the great musical icons of our country. My condolences to his family and friends.”

“A voice and a talent representing Mexico,” Nieto added in a subsequent tweet. “Their music, a legacy to the world. It has gone very soon. Rest in peace.”

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Univision reports that the singer had performed in Los Angeles on Saturday night, just hours before his death, on his MeXXIco Is Everything tour, which launched on August 19 and was set to continue across the U.S. through October. Valadez had been scheduled to perform in El Paso, Texas, on Sunday night.

The performer’s life story was told in a TV series Hasta Que Te Conoci [Until I Met You], which debuted in April. Julian Roman played Valadez in the 13-episode series that showed how the youngest of 10 siblings overcame an impoverished childhood in Paracuaro to become one of the most popular singers in Latin America.

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Valadez was ranked at No. 18 on Billboard’s 2015 Money Makers list (just below Ed Sheeran), thanks to touring revenue of $11.6 million last year. The prolific musician wrote and recorded more than 1,000 songs in a variety of music genres and sold more than 20 million albums, according to the Latin Times.

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