Mexican music icon José José, the prince of the song, dies at 71

The iconic Mexican singer José José, known as “el príncipe de la canción” (the prince of the song), died on Saturday at age 71, the National Association of Interpreters in Mexico announced on Saturday.

“Friends, it pains me to confirm that Jose Jose, our Prince of the Song, has just passed away… Rest in Peace,” famous Mexican radio host Ana María Canseco tweeted in Spanish.

José José, born José Rómulo Sosa Ortiz, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in March 2017. In November of that same year, he started receiving treatment in Florida.

“Dear family, Thank you for your support and for your prayers. I am very well thanks to God. I’m still receiving therapy to get well soon and hopefully see each other. Thanks for everything, a hug and a thousand blessings to all,” José José tweeted on June 10.

Familia querida,
Gracias por su apoyo y por sus oraciones. Estoy muy bien gracias a Dios. Continuó con mis terapias para salir adelante como muy pronto nos veremos, gracias por todo, un abrazo y mil bendiciones para todos.

– José José #FelizLunes

— José José (@JoseJoseOficial) June 10, 2019

He was born in Mexico City on Feb. 1948, and leaves behind a musical legacy of more than 50 years.

His interpretation of the renowned song “El triste” at the Latin Song Festival of 1970 catapulted him into international stardom.

He then climbed to the top of the Latin charts in the 1970s with slow ballads like such as “Almohada” (Pillow). In 1983, he recorded his bestselling album “Secreto.”

The power of his voice and ability to sing technically difficult tunes at a high register made him a treasured cultural icon in Latin America.

His music also became popular in non-Spanish-speaking countries such as Japan, Israel, Egypt and Russia.

José José is officially being inducted into the Latin Songwriters Hall of Fame on Oct. 24.

“Prince of the songs … you created your own kingdom, capable of going around the world and hearts. A sincere hug to your family and friends,” 2019 Latin Grammy nominee Alejandro Sanz tweeted in Spanish.

Príncipe de las canciones…creaste tu propio reino capaz de dar la vuelta al mundo y a los corazones. Un sincero abrazo a sus familiares y amigos. #DEP #JoséJosé

— Alejandro Sanz (@AlejandroSanz) September 28, 2019

Other Mexican celebrities like Lucero and Daniela Romo posted old photos of themselves with José José.

“I am so sorry for the departure of our huge, dear and admired José José … there will never be another voice like yours. Eternal Prince of the Song, rest in peace, we will always remember you. My sincere condolences to your beautiful family and friends,” said actress and singer Lucero.

Siento tanto la partida de nuestro enorme, querido y admirado José José… nunca habrá otra voz como la tuya. Eterno príncipe de la canción, descansa en paz, te recordamos siempre. Mis sinceras condolencias a su bella familia y amigos. pic.twitter.com/fF3YSh4uoV

— Lucero (@LuceroMexico) September 28, 2019

José José, your departure makes us very sad. Rest in peace,” actress Daniela Romo tweeted.

Throughtout his career, José José sold more than 95 million records worldwide, making him one of the most successful Latin singers in history.

He received several Grammy nominations and numerous awards. He sold out prominent venues, including Madison Square Garden and Radio City Music Hall. He also forged a career as an actor, starring in films such as “Gavilán o Paloma” and “Perdóname todo” (Forgive me all).

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Nicole Acevedo

Nicole Acevedo is a staff reporter at NBC News Digital where she reports, writes and produces content for NBC Latino and NBCNews.com.

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