Mexican singer Juan Gabriel, a musical icon across Latin America for more than 40 years, died on Sunday of a heart attack at age 66, broadcaster Televisa reported.
The prolific songwriter and performer, who was known for his powerful love ballads, died in Santa Monica, California, Televisa reported. He was due to sing at a concert in El Paso, Texas, later on Sunday.
Gabriel, whose real name was Alberto Aguilera, was born in 1950 into a poor family in the western Mexican state of Michoacan and rose to sell millions copies of his albums and have his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Gabriel, who lived much of his young life in the border city of Ciudad Juarez, entertained generations of Latin Americans with his energetic performances of songs such as “Querida” and “Amor Eterno” in glittering mariachi outfits.
“A voice and a talent that represented Mexico,” Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto said on Twitter. “His music, a legacy for the world.”