Gabriel was Mexico's leading singer-songwriter and top-selling artist with sales of more than 100 million albums. "Rest in peace, Juan Gabriel, a great friend, great artist and wonderful human being".
When news broke of the death of iconic Mexican singer-songwriter Juan Gabriel on Sunday, I dug through the old crates. The statement says he died Sunday, Aug. 28, 2016, but does not say where.
Gabriel left school at fifth grade and went to Mexico City to try to break into music. He was scheduled to perform Sunday in El Paso, Texas. Amongst his numerous accolades were six Grammy nominations, induction into the Billboard Latin Music Hall of Fame and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 1990, he became the first commercial singer to hold a concert at Mexico City's Palace of Fine Arts, until then reserved just for classical musicians.
Gabriel, whose real name is Alberto Aguilera Valadez, performed at The Forum in Los Angeles as recently as Friday. "So I exploited the only thing I knew, which was singing and songwriting", he told the L.A. Times. There he met his mentor, Juan Contreras, according to the AP.
During that time he was accused of robbery and sent to jail.
Juan Gabriel was known for his relentless work ethic, with constant tours and a total of 1,800 songs that stretched across genres, NPR noted.
Gabriel's many hit songs include a diverse array of styles, including pop, ranchera, ballads and rock.
Juan Gabriel rarely gave interviews. His 1971 breakout hit was actually titled "No Tengo Dinero" (I Have No Money). "Don't believe it. Juan Gabriel was singular".
"Gabriel ended the spectacular with his iconic song 'El noa noa, ' getting the entire audience on their feet and dancing along with him and his dancers", reads Billboard's review of the concert.