Mexican Singer Juan Gabriel Dies At 66

The musical legend died unexpectedly of a heart attack, his family told a reporter in Mexico.

Mexican singer-songwriter Juan Gabriel died on Sunday of a heart attack, journalist Joaquín López-Dóriga said.

Family told López-Dóriga that the musical legend died Sunday morning in Santa Monica. The Los Angeles County Coroner confirmed to NBC that the singer had died of natural causes.

Gabriel was in the midst of a US tour, called MeXXico Es Todo, and had been scheduled to perform Sunday night in El Paso. The venue told BuzzFeed News it would begin issuing refunds to fans on Monday.

His final show was Friday in Los Angeles, where he performed with a mariachi band, orchestra, and more than 20 dancers.

Tan solo besame y sabras .... #EternamenteAgradecido #MeXXIcoestodo

Born in Michoacán, Mexico as Alberto Aguilera Valadez, Gabriel was known for performing both traditional Mexican songs and pop music. His discography comprised of dozens of studio albums and live recordings dating back to the 1970s, and in 2009, he was honored as the Latin Recording Academy's person of the year.

His 1984 album, Recuerdos II, sold 8 million copies and remains the best-selling album in Mexico of all time. It contained the hit, "Querida."

View this video on YouTube

His death was mourned by fans across the US and Latin America, as well as by other artists and Mexican leaders.

Lamento la muerte de Juan Gabriel, uno de los grandes íconos musicales de nuestro país. Mis condolencias a sus familiares y amigos.

Una voz y un talento que representaban a México. Su música, un legado para el mundo. Se ha ido muy pronto. Que descanse en Paz.

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto wrote on Twitter: "I’m sorry to hear about the death of Juan Gabriel, one of the greatest Mexican musical icons. My condolences to his family and friends. A voice and talent that represented Mexico. His music is a legacy for the world. He has left us too soon. Rest in peace."

Pop star Ricky Martin also offered his condolences.

"His music and spirit will live forever," singer Juanes said.

Me quedo sin palabras para expresar mi inmensa tristeza por la partida del gran @soyjuangabriel. Su música y espíritu vivirán por siempre.

"I have had the joy of being your friend and you, my confidant," Paulina Rubio wrote.

President Obama described Gabriel as a performer who transcended borders and generations.

"For over forty years, Juan Gabriel brought his beloved Mexican music to millions, transcending borders and generations," Obama said in a statement. "To so many Mexican-Americans, Mexicans and people all over the world, his music sounds like home. With his romantic lyrics, passionate performances and signature style, Juan Gabriel captivated audiences and inspired countless young musicians. He was one of the greats of Latin music--and his spirit will live on in his enduring songs, and in the hearts of the fans who love him."

Skip to footer