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Ethan Miller/Getty Images
This is one of the saddest moments in the world of Latin music.
Alberto "Juan Gabriel" Aguilera Valadez died Sunday morning of natural causes at his home in Santa Monica, California, just two days after his sold-out show at the Forum in Inglewood, California. He was 66. The star was scheduled to perform Sunday evening in El Paso, Texas, along with 15 other US tour dates that he had scheduled through December.
Once the news of his death was confirmed, an enormous amount of fans and celebrities took to social media to mourn the loss of which many called "the master."
Hoy el mundo de la música Latina ha perdido un gigante, un ícono y una leyenda que marcó mi vida para siempre. El es gran responsable de que mi carrera tomara este rumbo desde el primer dia. Enormemente triste con la noticia de la pérdida de uno de mis héroes. Una vida más grande que la vida misma se apaga hoy, pero tu música y tu legado quedará con nosotros para siempre. Descansa en paz mi luz. @soyjuangabriel
Juan Gabriel collaborated with all of the biggest names in music, one of them being who Marc Anthony shared a touching post expressing the importance that the late singer had over his career.
"Today the world of Latin music has lost a giant, an icon, and a legend that marked my life forever. He is responsible that my career took the route that it did from the very first day," Marc wrote in Spanish. "I am enormously saddened by the loss of one of my heroes. A life bigger than life itself dimmed today, but your music and legacy will stay with us forever. Rest in peace, my light."
The news continued to overwhelm the singer when he took the stage hours later, and he couldn't hold back his tears. He posted the moment on his Instagram account and captioned it in Spanish saying, "A night dedicated to my dear brother @soyjuangabriel another angel escaped us...take care of us from wherever you are."
President Barack Obamatook to Twitter to express his condolences with a statement.
"For over forty years, Juan Gabriel brought his beloved Mexican music to millions, transcending borders and generations. To so many Mexican-Americans, Mexicans and people all over the world, his music sounds like home. With his romantic lyrics, passionate performances and signature style, Juan Gabriel captivated audiences and inspired countless young musicians. He was one of the greats of Latin music--and his spirit will live on in his enduring songs, and in the hearts of the fans who love him," said the president.
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Juan Gabriel, who sold more than 100 million records during his career, meant so much to so many people because of his talent and the story behind his music. The late singer triumphantly overcame many obstacles from growing up with a difficult childhood to becoming homeless and then imprisoned for alleged robbery (he was released a year and a half later due to lack of evidence). But he never gave up on his dream, and we're so happy he didn't because he gave us 45 years of greatness that will last a lifetime.
The father of four once said that the mother of his children Laura Salas was "the best friend of my life."
Juan Gabriel's son Iván Aguiler, who also managed his career for the last six years, released a heartfelt statement.
"My father's untimely passing is a tragic loss for all of us, his family, colleagues, and fans alike. We give heartfelt thanks for the outpouring of condolences we have received from around the world including from President Enrique Pena Nieto," he said. "We know that our father will miss entertaining his countless fans, who brought him tremendous joy in life."
The statement also added that the family would release further details regarding Juan Gabriel's passing in the coming days. But for now, they respectfully ask that the family is allowed a very brief window to mourn their loss.
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A message on the singer's website called him a beloved father and grandfather.
"He has gone to become part of eternity and leaves us his legacy through Juan Gabriel, a character he created with the music he sang and performed across this world," the site said. "Juan Gabriel hasn't died, as Alberto would say, 'As long as someone exists who sings my songs, Juan Gabriel will live.'"
The singer's sexuality was always a topic of conversation, although the singer rightfully asked for the focus to stay on his music. Univision's Fernando Rincón once interviewed the star and directly asked if he was gay, that's when Juan Gabriel replied, "What is visible, shouldn't be asked."
According to The New York Times, in the star's country of Mexico, there have been spontaneous vigils and celebrations to pay tribute to the fallen icon. Many fans have also made a memorial outside of the singer's home in Santa Monica and at his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Telemundo announced earlier this year that the singer's life story was set to be air in a telenovela. Its release has yet to be determined.
We might have lost Juan Gabriel, but his legacy will live on forever.