The Colombian salsa leyend died this morning in La Asunción Clinic of Barranquilla, after battling health problems since the end of May. He was in the ICU of the medical center for 29 days.
“El Joe” was one of the most important artists in the tropical music genre and became famous for popular songs like “Tania”, “La Noche” (covered by many, including Juanes) and “Rebelión” (also known as “No le pegue a la Neeegra”), which I’m sure most of us have heard, danced and/or sang to the top of our lungs at some point of our lives!
Joe was going through quite a few health problems including lung failure, heart problems, hypertension and diabetes. He died of what is known as multi organ failure.
Alvaro José Arroyo González, El Gran Joe, was born in Cartagena on November 1st, 1955. Soon began the myth of the little boy who’s vocal chords were touched by God. At the age of 15, Arroyo was the lead singer of del Súper Combo Los Diamantes in Sincelejo; at 16 he was lead of La Protesta in Barranquilla; at 17 he was the voice of Fruko y sus Tesos, touring all of Colombia, and at 24 his talent went worldwide with La Verdad.
At the time of his passing, he was still at the top of the game, so much that he had his luggage ready to go on tour in the U.S.. Right now there is a TV series with great ratings in Colombian tv station RCN called “El Joe”, based on his life story.
On June 18th, in what would be his last time on stage, he was honored by other great Colombian artists like Fruko y sus Tesos, Checo Acosta, Diomedez Díaz, Wilson Manyoma (famous for his song “El Preso”), Hansel Camacho, Gustavo Rodríguez and Carlos Guerrero, ex singer of el grupo Niche.
Arroyo, a great singer and composer, was not only recognized in his beloved Colombia. On November his career was going to be honored by presenting him with a special Grammy award by the Latin Recording Academy.
As he anticipated in his popular song “…En Barranquilla me quedo…” and so he did. This musical leyend will be greatly missed around the globe and his powerful and unique voice will be heard throughout eternity.
Rest In Peace Gran Joe!
By Larry Yepez Jr.