The Pacoima Post Office was renamed Friday in honor of rock ‘n’ roll legend Ritchie Valens.

Rep. Tony Cárdenas, D-Panorama City, who introduced the bill to rename the post office, led the ceremony, which was attended by members of Valens’ family. The ceremony was held on what would have been Valens’ 81st birthday.

Valens attended San Fernando High School and became a hit recording artist after being discovered in 1958 at the American Legion hall in Pacoima. He appeared on ABC’s “American Bandstand” and recorded such hits as “La Bamba,” “Come On, Let’s Go” and “Donna.” His records sold more than a million copies.

Valens died at the age of 17 on Feb. 3, 1959, in a plane crash that also took the lives of Buddy Holly and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson. He was the subject of the 1987 feature film “La Bamba” and inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2001.

“Ritchie Valens is an example of how even when it seems like there is no path to your dream, you make your own way and build your own path,” Cárdenas said.

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