CNN is reporting that Puerto Rican salsa legend Jose Luis “Cheo” Feliciano, a giant of the genre, died in a car crash early Thursday morning in San Juan, police said. He was 78. CNN‘s Dania Alexandrino writes:
A crooner with one of the most recognizable and imitated voices in Latin music, Feliciano sang with the long-running Fania All Stars in the heyday of New York’s thriving salsa scene in the 1970s.
“‘Cheo was one of the most important stalwarts and forces of our music,’ said Juan Moreno Velazquez, a New York-based journalist who has written biographies of salsa’s biggest stars. ‘He will be mourned in Puerto Rico and throughout Latin America. He connected to the people, a true stalwart of our culture for all Latinos. The passing of this icon leaves immense pain throughout Latin America.’
Indeed, the governor of Puerto Rico has declared three days of mourning and, throughout the island on Thursday, many motorists drove with their headlights on in tribute.
Puerto Rico Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla said in a statement: ‘Today, Puerto Rico lost one of its greatest voices.'”
Feliciano, a member of the Fania All Stars, was one of the most recognized salsa singers, with hits including “Una en un millón,” ”Mi promesa,” and “Contigo aprendi.”
Considered salsa royalty, Feliciano was awarded a Latin Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008. He is survived by his wife Coco and four children.
Read more at CNN.