Salsa music great José 'Cheo' Feliciano, 78, dies in car crash

Thu Apr 17, 2014 1:28pm EDT
 
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By Ana Martinez-Santiago

SAN JUAN (Reuters) - Puerto Rican singer José Luis "Cheo" Feliciano, who performed with some of salsa's top stars, was killed in a car crash in San Juan early Thursday morning, police said.

He was 78.

Puerto Rico Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla declared three days of mourning for the widely admired salsero.

Feliciano died shortly after 4 a.m, according to Axel Valencia, a San Juan police spokesman. The El Nuevo Dia newspaper said his Jaguar hit an electricity pole.

"It appears as if he lost control while taking a curve," Police Inspector Jorge Hernandez Pena said, adding that he was not wearing a seat belt.

Not to be confused with the blind José Feliciano, the famed Puerto Rican guitarist and vocalist with hits including a rendition of The Doors' "Light My Fire," Cheo Feliciano was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico on July 3, 1935.

Tributes poured in on Thursday from fellow musicians and fans.

In a Twitter message, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said Feliciano "always carried with him pride of his beloved Puerto Rico. He was Caribbean and gave us rhythm and poetry to fill our life."   Continued...

 
Puerto Rican salsa singer Jose "Cheo" Feliciano (R) embraces Panamanian singer Ruben Blades during Blades' initial concert of his new tour "Todos Vuelven" at the Puerto Rico Coliseum in San Juan, in this August 21, 2009 file photo. REUTERS/Ana Martinez/Files