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Latin music icon Juan Gabriel dies at 66

By
Shawn Price
Latin artist Juan Gabriel has died of an apparent heart attack at age 66. Gabriel (above) holds the PKG award on stage during the 2016 Billboard Latin Music Awards and Show at the Bank United Center, University of Miami, Miami, Florida on April 28. Photo by Gary I Rothstein/UPI
Latin artist Juan Gabriel has died of an apparent heart attack at age 66. Gabriel (above) holds the PKG award on stage during the 2016 Billboard Latin Music Awards and Show at the Bank United Center, University of Miami, Miami, Florida on April 28. Photo by Gary I Rothstein/UPI | License Photo

SANTA MONICA, Calif., Aug. 28 (UPI) -- Latin music icon Juan Gabriel has died of a suspected heart attack at his home in Santa Monica, Calif. on Sunday morning, sources said. He was 66.

Gabriel had given a concert at The Forum in Los Angeles Friday night and was expected give a performance in El Paso, Texas Sunday. The prolific singer and songwriter's death was confirmed by Los Angeles County Coroner spokeswoman Selena Barros.

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A member of Billboard's Latin Music Hall of Fame, Gabriel sold more than 100 million records in his career and was nominated for six Grammys.

Born Alberto Aguilera Valadez on January 7, 1950 in Parácuaro, Michoacán, Mexico, Gabriel was most famous for his hit ballads, but he also wrote songs of artists like Latin singers including Angélica María, Gualberto Castro, Aida Cuevas, Lucha Villa, Ana Gabriel, José José, Luis Miguel and Rocío Dúrcal.

He also produced albums for Lola Beltrán, Dúrcal, Villa, and Paul Anka.

His 1984 album Recuerdos, Vol. II is still Mexico's best-selling album with sales of over eight million copies.

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto tweeted his condolances: "We lament the death of Juan Gabriel, one of the biggest musical icons of our country. My condolences to his family and friends."

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