Latin music icon Juan Gabriel died August 28 at his Santa Monica, California home as a result of what is being called natural causes at the age of 66. Sources are also reporting that Gabriel had a massive heart attack, but there has been no confirmation or statement from the family.
On a US tour at the time of his death, Gabriel was scheduled to perform in El Paso, Texas on Sunday evening (August 28). He regularly played to packed houses on both sides of the border.
In 1990 Gabriel became the first non classical music artist to perform at the Palace of Fine Arts in Mexico City.
Gabriel was a legend in his native Mexico with some of his hits staying on the music charts for months at a time. He was known as well for his foppish attire as he was for his impromptu dancing on stage. He was viewed as the Latin Elvis.
A prolific songwriter, he composed his first song at the age of 13 and over the next 53 years Gabriel has composed over 1,500 songs. Latin music star Marc Anthony became a breakout star with the Juan Gabriel song “Hasta Que Te Conoci”. Gabriel has also written music recorded by Paul Anka, La India, Ana Gabriel (not related), Isabel Pantoja, Raul Di Blasio, and Gloria Trevi. He has worked with artists Lucha Villa and Rocio Durcal on their albums. The group Son del Son released two albums that featured only songs composed by Gabriel.
Gabriel had his music appear in a couple dozen television series, most of which are Spanish language programs but included “Men with Guns”, “The Sopranos”, “Havoc”, and “Days in Havana”.
Known best as a musician, Gabriel also appeared in 10 productions as an actor including his 1977 debut in “Rural Chivalry” “El Noa Noa”, “Es mi vida”, “Te sigo amando”, and “Evicted”.
While Gabriel has been overlooked by the Latin Recording Academy when it comes to taking home a golden gramophone trophy; Gabriel has been named a Latin Music Person of the Year, earned an induction into the Billboard Latin Music Hall of Fame, and has presented with the Songwriter of the Year Award by ASCAP – the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers.
The youngest of 10 children, Gabriel was born Alberto Aguilera Valadez on January 7, 1950 in Paracuaro, Mexico but was raised in Juarez in an orphanage. Young Alberto created his stage name by using the first names of his first music teacher Juan Contreras and his father Gabriel.
fAs a teen he went to Mexico City. Having no job or money he slept wherever he could while trying to make his way into the music business. A false accusation of robbery laded him in jail, but thanks to the help of the prison director and his wife, young Juan was freed and at the age of 21 he signed his first record contract and broke out with the hit “No tengo dinero”.
While there were rumours of more legal issues, Gabriel was a very private person and would not divulge details of his life, including his sexuality, during the rare interview.
A lifelong bachelor, Gabriel is survived by his four children.
Gabriel sold tens of millions of copies of the 60 albums he recorded during his career.
Juan Gabriel’s discography:
“Siempre Estoy Pensando en Ti”
“Cosas de Enamorados”
“Frente a Frenta, Vol. 2”
“Juan Gabriel en el Palacio de Bellas Artes”
“Juan Gabriel con el Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlan”
“Con Tu Amor”
“Te Llegara Mi Olvido”
“Juan Gabriel La Inspiracion – Angelica Maria La Voz”
“En el Palacio de Bellas Artes”
“Los Exitos De Juan Gabriel”
“Gracias Por Esperar”
“Canta Como: Juan Gabrie Con Orquestral”
“El Mexico Que Nos Fue”
“El Alma Joven, Vol. 3”
“Juan Gabriel con el Mariachi America de Jesus Rodriguez de Hijar”
“Juan Gabriel con Mariachi, Vol. 2”
“Siempre El Mi Mente”
“El Alma Joven”
“A Mi Guitarra”
“Mi Gusta Bailar Contigo”
“Juntos Otra Vez”
“Homenaje a Juan Gabriel”
“Celebrando 25 Anos de Juan Gabriel en Concierto en el Palacio de Bellas Artes”
“Por Mi Orgullo”
“Con la Banda…El Recodo”
“Juan Gabriel con Banda…El Recodo”
“Abrazame Muy Fuerte”
“Por los Sigos”
“Pistas: Canta Como Juan Gabriel”
“Juan Gabriel en Vivo”
“Frente a Frente [Lideres]”
“Inocente de Ti”
“Por Siempre lo Mejor De”
“Los Gabriel: Cantan a Mexico”
“Juan Gabriel: Tributo Durangeuens”
“En Bellas Artes”
“Canciones de Amor”
“Frente a Frente: Juan Gabriel/Joan Sebastian”
“Vestido de Etiqueta por Eduardo Magallanes”
“Por Primavera Vez Juntos Jg Y Rd: Romanticos!”
Sherrill is an award winning journalist and photographer. Her specialty is music, entertainment, and sports.To date she has had over 6,000 works published - including profiles, news pieces, reviews, and obituaries; both in print and online. She has covered 100's of concerts and conducted numerous interviews including members of One Republic, Clannad, Celtic Thunder, The Wiggles, the J. Geils Band, DoDriver, More Than Me, abd Thunderhand Joe and the Medicine Show.She has also co-authored a book on the history of a Rochester New York Congregation.She is also a photographer and artist whose photographs can be seen in some of her articles.Unless otherwise stated, the photos that appear in the articles belong to her.Sherrill makes her home in the western New York area.Sherrill contributes music and sports news for The Daily Voice News.Contact her at: [email protected]