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Johnny Pacheco, co-founder of Fania Records, dead at 85

 Johnny Pacheco, the co-founder of Fania Records, has died at the age of 85. File Photo by Ezio Petersen/UPI
 Johnny Pacheco, the co-founder of Fania Records, has died at the age of 85. File Photo by Ezio Petersen/UPI | License Photo

Feb. 16 (UPI) -- Johnny Pacheco, who co-founded Latin music label Fania Records with Jerry Masucci, has died at the age of 85.

Pacheco's wife Maria Elena Pacheco, known as Cuqui, confirmed his death to the New York Times.

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Alex Masucci, the brother of Jerry Masucci, confirmed Pacheco's death to NPR. Pacheco was hospitalized in New Jersey for undisclosed reasons. A cause of death has not been announced.

Fania Records, founded in 1964, signed some of the top Latin artists of the '60s and '70s, including Celia Cruz, Willie Colón, Hector Lavoe and Rubén Blades. The label was known as the Motown of salsa music.

Pacheco was also a performer, songwriter, musical arranger and producer. He started his own band Pacheco y Su Charanga in 1960 with the group popularizing a style known as pachanga.

Pacheco joined forces with Cruz in the 1970s with the duo releasing over 10 albums together. Their first album titled Celia & Johnny went gold. Pacheco was a producer on Cruz's last solo album La Negra Tiene Tumbao, which won a Grammy in 2002 for best salsa album.

Pacheco worked on the film soundtracks for The Mambo Kings and Something Wild, and penned more than 150 songs. He was inducted into the International Latin Music Hall of Fame in 1998.

Pacheco is survived by his wife, daughters Norma and Joanne and sons Elis and Phillip.

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